NY eases capacity limits on outdoor stadiums, offices, casinos and gyms

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the state will ease capacity limits at even more venues next month.

Starting May 15, offices, which had been operating at 50% capacity, can increase to 75% occupancy while casinos can go from 25% to 50%.

Gyms and fitness clubs outside of New York City will also be able to increase capacity from 33% to 50%.

Starting May 19, outdoor stadiums will go from 20% to 33% capacity.

"If we keep that COVID positivity going down, we keep the vaccination rate going up, you're going to see more and more economic activity," Cuomo said. "We're going to continue to increase the reopening... as our positivity is coming down, and our vaccination is going up, you're going to see more reopening."

Of the 126,953 tests reported in the state Sunday, 3,039 were positive — 2.39% of total.

The announcement comes on the same day that capacity increases to 50% at museums and zoos, and 33% at movie theaters.

With an operating budget of $1 million per month, Bryan DeLuca, executive director of the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, said it's been more than difficult feeding the animals in the past year.

"We've just managed to hold the backend so that we can survive, which is everybody taking a reduction in pay," DeLuca said.

The aquarium's workforce has also dropped from 400 employees to 175 with most working part time.

"We do weddings in the beautiful setting of the aquarium and catering is still in a very, very precarious situation. We've had a lot of cancellations, a lot of pushback, giving back deposits, so that's impacted us financially," DeLuca said.

The governor provided the updated guidance at a briefing in Syracuse where he announced the State Fair will be held this summer from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. It will be spread out across four areas to keep the crowd size at about 50%.

"That will give us the ability to control the number of people who are coming and going," Cuomo said. "These are general operating principles, they will be revised between now and August and if things keep going the way they're going they will be revised up — more capacity, more flexibility."

It was the governor's first in-person briefing with members of the media in attendance since early December.