New York is working its way back to being a live entertainment destination. The city is set to adjust many of its COVID-19 safety protocols and welcome fans back to Broadway and music venues.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors jointly announced on Monday that they would be lifting most industry capacity restrictions beginning May 19 given vaccination progress and COVID-19 case decline.
“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a release.
In New York and New Jersey, capacity limits for most businesses will be replaced with a new distance-based maximum capacity. Retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services will be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of six feet.
The entertainment industry, however, will still be limited. As of May 10 in New York, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people.
Music venues can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing of six feet can be accommodated.
Beginning May 19, large-scale indoor venues can move from 10% to 30% capacity. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33%. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.
While capacity limits have changed, New York will continue to require state or local health authority event notification, health screening, contact information for tracing, enhanced air handling and building system standards, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols.
“Maintaining this progress is critical and in order to keep moving in a positive direction, New Yorkers must continue to take all the proper precautions,” Governor Cuomo added. “If we let up now, we could slide backwards and that is something nobody wants. So, let’s be safe and for anyone who has yet to be vaccinated, please do so as soon as you can.”
In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont said the state would eliminate all remaining business restrictions including those on capacity limits at large event venues in the state starting May 19.