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COVID-19: There Are Now New Rules For Graduations, Houses Of Worship In NY

Socially distanced graduations will be permitted as long as the capacity doesn't top 150 people. Photo Credit: Pixabay
Churches, mosques, temples, and other religious buildings in regions that reach Phase 2 of reopening can open back up with 25 percent capacity. Photo Credit: Pixabay
Socially distanced graduations will be permitted as long as the capacity doesn't top 150 people. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New York’s recovery from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been quicker than expected, allowing for the loosening of rules for potential graduation ceremonies and houses of worship.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend, that in-person graduations will be permitted with less than 150 people starting Friday, June 26.

In addition, churches, mosques, temples, and other religious buildings in regions that reach Phase 2 of reopening can open back up with 25 percent capacity.

In both cases, proper social distancing protocols must be maintained, and the reopening is subject to any potential spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We’re going to open the valve more than we originally anticipated because the metrics are so good,” Cuomo said. "We now have the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus since this pandemic began.

“But people still have to stay smart and follow all the necessary precautions and guidelines because if the metrics start to change, the reopening will have to be slowed down.”

"Schools need to plan," Cuomo said during a daily COVID-19 briefing in Albany over the weekend. "With the progress, we've made so far, and if we continue this trajectory, we'll be able to do that.”

“The governor’s announcement today allowing outdoor high school graduation ceremonies for up to 150 people is welcome news, and a step toward allowing a more traditional graduation ceremony,” New York State School Board Association Executive Director Robert Schneider stated.

“While we understand the need to continue to be vigilant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, school board members remain hopeful that the governor will allow graduating seniors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a full high school graduation experience, albeit with appropriate safeguards in place to protect public health.”

As of Monday, June 8, Central New York, the Capital Region, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York were in Phase 2 of their reopening plans. 

Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley are on track to enter Phase 2 this week, while New York City is entering Phase 1 as of Monday morning.

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