Small entertainment venues to begin reopening in April as NY loosens gathering restrictions

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced New York State will be rolling back more coronavirus restrictions as vaccine supply continues to increase in the state.

After announced that mass vaccination sites, such as Yankee Stadium and the Jacob Javits Center, will be operating during the overnight hours to distribute the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, Cuomo announced the state will be loosening restrictions on social gatherings.

Beginning on March 22, social gatherings in New York can begin to include 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. All events must require masks and social distancing, the governor noted.

Residential gatherings will remain at just 10 people indoors, while outdoor gatherings will increase to 25 people.

Cuomo’s senior advisor Robert Mujica adds that the gathering limits will also lead to more venues being allowed to open beginning April 2.

“For event spaces for less than 10,000 (guests), those spaces can begin reopening at 33% capacity, or up to 100 people indoors, and again, 200 people outdoors,” Mujica said.

The state will require attendees wear masks at all times and maintain social distancing at all events throughout the state.

Mujica does note that any venue that wants to go above those limitations will be required to test all guest prior to the event. So long as all guests receive a negative COVID-19 test, indoor gathering limits can increase to 150 people, while outdoor gatherings can increase to 500 people.

To ensure testing is done correctly, New York state has started rolling out a COVID-19 “boarding pass” at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center events, in hopes that it can eventually be used at all venues.

The boarding pass, known as “Excelsior Pass,” “will use proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test through a confidential data transfer to help fast-track the reopening of theaters, stadiums and other businesses in accordance with New York State guidelines.”

Gov. Cuomo also announced changes to New York’s travel guidelines.

Now, if a person arriving in New York from another state has been fully vaccinated against the virus, they will no longer be required to quarantine upon landing – so long as it is still within 90 days of their second dose. International travelers, however, will still be required to follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The updated guidance came during the governor’s first public appearance in more than a week, as he faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment from three women.

During his press conference, he addressed the allegations saying, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”

The New York Attorney General is conducting a full investigation into the allegations.

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