New York, New Jersey Lift Covid-19 Capacity Limits on Businesses
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 2 weeks ago • 45 comments
By: Joseph De Avila (WSJ)
New York and New Jersey are lifting most capacity limits on businesses put in place last spring to stem the spread of Covid-19 as more people get vaccinated and infections continue to decline.
Capacity limits will end May 19 for New Jersey and New York retail stores, restaurants, gyms, amusement parks, salons, barber shops, offices, museums and theaters, including Broadway, state officials said Monday. Businesses will be limited only by social-distancing measures, which require patrons and parties to be kept 6 feet apart.
Both states are keeping their indoor mask mandates.
Connecticut previously ended many capacity restrictions and announced in April that it is ending all restrictions on businesses beginning May 19, except for indoor masking requirements.
These efforts represented a major milestone for New York, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Rising vaccination rates coupled with falling rates of infections and hospitalizations made this moment possible, he said.
“It is irrefutable, when you look at the numbers, that New Yorkers have made tremendous progress,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “All the arrows are pointing in the right direction, have been for a while.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said last week that he wanted to remove capacity limits on businesses in the city by July 1 . The new statewide measures will speed up that timeline.
New York’s seven-day average for its positivity rate fell to 1.8% on Sunday, a 50% decline since last month and the lowest it has been since early November, Mr. Cuomo said. There were 2,839 people hospitalized in New York with Covid-19 on Sunday, the fewest since late November, he said.
More than nine million people have had at least one vaccine shot in New York and seven million have been fully vaccinated, Mr. Cuomo said.
New York and New Jersey will also be raising the limit on indoor social gatherings in private homes to 50 people beginning May 19. Indoor capacity for large venues, like for sporting events, can also increase capacity to 30% on May 19.
“We feel confident that we can do this safely because our numbers have trended decisively in the right direction over the past three weeks,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Democrat, said at a separate news conference.
New Jersey recorded 1,077 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, down 75% from one month ago. There were 1,424 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the state, a 35% decline from a month earlier.
New Jersey has administered more than seven million vaccine shots, and more than 3.25 million residents are now fully vaccinated.
Meantime, in New York City, some 80,000 city employees returned to the office on Monday to resume in-person work. Mr. de Blasio said the city workers will be subject to numerous health screenings and will continue to practice social distancing and masking to reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19.
“We learned from our schools how to do things right, and we are doing the same approach in our offices, and we are confident it’s going to work,” Mr. De Blasio, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “We need this. This is a part of our recovery.”
Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37, New York City’s largest public employee union, said the city’s reopening approach has been inconsistent.
“Some agencies are bringing everyone back every day, others once a week,” Mr. Garrido said in a statement. “It does not make sense.”
Mr. de Blasio defended the city’s actions and said the city has been careful and consultative in its approach to reopening offices.