New York state will allow larger social and religious gatherings in regions that reach the fourth phase of the the state’s reopening plan.
Social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed in phase four, up from 25 people in phase three, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday during a press conference in New York City. Indoor religious gatherings will be allowed to run at 33% of their full occupancy, up from 25%.
Western New York is expected to enter Phase 4 on Tuesday.
Phase 4 includes businesses and organizations in the arts, entertainment and education. The state has issued guidelines for zoos, aquariums, museums, botanical gardens and others.
However, Gannett New York reported, theaters, fitness facilities and shopping malls will have to wait for a separate determination from Cuomo before welcoming customers back.
Among the venues that will have to remain closed and wait for Cuomo’s approval are amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor concerts, movie theaters and indoor performing arts productions, according to the state documents.
Outdoor performing arts events are limited to the statewide nonessential gathering limit, which is currently capped at 25 people.
”There are some things that don’t fit neatly into a phase that are going to require further study and we’re going through that right now,” said Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior adviser and spokesman. “This includes evaluating what’s going on in other states to avoid going backwards.”
Owners of gyms and theaters scrambled to find out if they would or would not get authorization to reopen.
Gyms, theaters and casinos have been forced closed in New York since mid-March, as the coronavirus spread rapidly through the state, infecting at least 380,000 people and leading to nearly 25,000 deaths.
MEANWHILE, a total of 1,071 people in New York were hospitalized on Tuesday due to the coronavirus, down 33 from the day before and the lowest level since March 19.
Hospitalizations peaked at more than 18,000 over multiple days in April.
Another 17 people in the state died on Tuesday due to the virus, down 10 from the previous day. New deaths peaked at 800 on April 14 and the last time there were more than 50 deaths in a single day was June 9.
The statewide death toll is now 24,782.
“You look at where we are now,” Cuomo said. “We did a full 180 degrees.
“No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such a short period of time. No one else had to bend the curve as much as we had to bend the curve.”
The state conducted 51,144 tests for the virus on Tuesday and 581 came back positive. That’s a positive rate of 1.1%, which is consistent with recent days.
New York now has 389,666 confirmed cases of the virus.
Central New York’s rate of positive tests was less than 1% for most of the last five days before increasing to 1.8% on Monday and 2.3% on Tuesday. Cuomo said the virus remains well controlled throughout the state.