Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said she viewed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening of the state announced on Monday as a “historic” measure in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
“Today’s announcement regarding the upcoming lifting of capacity restrictions is a historic and hard-earned milestone in our quest to defeat COVID-19,” Curran said in a statement on Monday. “Our goal in Nassau County has been to vaccinate as many people [as] possible as fast as possible so that we could fully reopen and return to our normal lives.”
Cuomo announced that the state will lift a majority of capacity restrictions, including outdoor and indoor social gatherings, along with residential gatherings, beginning May 19. Capacity limits for businesses will also be replaced with allowing individual businesses to permit as many patrons as they desire, so long as there is six-foot social distancing.
As of May 1, the state eliminated the restrictions on table size and the requirement of having food be served with alcohol. Cuomo announced in late April that the state would end the curfew on food and beverage services.
“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo announced that limits on outdoor social gatherings will increase from 200 to 500 people on May 10, and the limits on indoor social gatherings will increase from 100 to 250 people on May 19. Also, as of May 19, there will be no restrictions on residential outdoor gatherings throughout the state, and the limit for residential indoor gatherings will increase from 10 to 50 people.
Cuomo said that any event with an excess amount of people will be permitted only if everyone in attendance can provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test or full vaccination.
Beginning on May 19, large-scale indoor events will be permitted to function at 30 percent capacity, an increase from the current 10 percent restriction. Large-scale outdoor event venues will be permitted to function at a 33 percent capacity, Cuomo announced. He said patrons for both types of venues will require proof of full vaccination along with social distancing and masks.
Cuomo also announced that hair salons, barbershop, and other personal care services will be allowed to expand to 75 percent capacity on Friday, and gyms and fitness centers can expand to 50 percent capacity on May 15.
“Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers and our partners in government, we are now able to increase capacity limits for businesses, event venues and residences to reflect what we’re seeing in the COVID data,” Cuomo said.
As of Wednesday, more than 570,000 Nassau County residents had completed their vaccination series, with more than 730,000 receiving their first dose. Curran said more than 82 percent of the county’s residents at least 65 years old have received their vaccinations. She also said the county’s seven-day positivity rate dropped to 1.64 percent, remaining slightly below the state’s average of 1.76 percent.
“Let’s keep getting shots into arms so we can save more lives and get back to normal,” Curran said.