"Beginning Wednesday, May 19 most capacity restrictions will end across the tri-state area," Cuomo said. "That includes retail stores, food service, gyms, fitness centers, amusement parks, and family entertainment centers, hair salons, barbershops, offices, museums, theaters, etc. No capacity restrictions on all of those activities."
This is the first time in more than a year that New York has seen an end to capacity restrictions, with the governor noting the state’s vaccination rate is largely behind the ability to reopen.
"Our positivity rate has been going way down dramatically; 50% decline in the last month," the governor said. "Congratulations to New Yorkers. Hospitalization rate, skiing down the mountain, 38% decline over the last month. Vaccination rate: The exact opposite, it’s been going straight up. We’re now up to 9 million New Yorkers with at least one dose, 7 million New Yorkers are fully vaccinated."
That said, New York will continue to follow social distancing guidelines, especially in large crowds, Cuomo said. The governor added that some businesses may also implement capacity restrictions of their own.
In addition to lifting capacity restrictions, the governor also said that outdoor dining curfews will end on May 17, while indoor dining curfews will end on May 31.
Meanwhile, indoor gathering limits will increase to 250 up to 500, with the latter being contingent on testing or proof of vaccination.
Residential gathering limits will increase to 50 on May 19, while outdoor stadium capacities will rise to 33% in New York on May 19.
"If a person is vaccinated in New York or another county then those people’s life should be returning to normal," he continued. "You’re vaccinated and it’s an incentive to be vaccinated, so 6 feet CDC requirement unless it is organized around vaccination or negative test results. This is a major reopening of economic and social activity, and it's coordinated regionally."
"Part of being New York tough is, yeah you knocked us down, yes it hurt, yes there was pain, but we’re going to get up and we’re not just going to get up, we’re going to get up smart, and strong, and united, and we’re going to make this a moment of opportunity because everybody has to rebuild," added Cuomo.