Touring

NYC Is Reopening, But Concerts Are Still Restricted

People walk past the Hard Rock Cafe on May 3, 2021 in New York City.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

People walk past the Hard Rock Cafe on May 3, 2021 in New York City.

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. 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.

On May 5, Cuomo added that large-scale outdoor event venues will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of six feet starting May 19. This will apply to outdoor sports, performing arts and live entertainment, and horse and auto racing venues statewide. In addition, at large-scale outdoor event venues fully vaccinated attendees may be spaced next to one another, instead of six feet apart. They will need to be in assigned, seated sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals. Individuals seated in these sections will have to provide proof of full immunization status, which can be provided through paper form, digital application or the New York's Excelsior Pass. Provided by the state, Excelsior Pass is a free way to provide digital proof of COIVD-19 vaccination or negative test results.

By June 19, New York will begin to pilot reduced social distancing at large-scale indoor event venues in assigned, seated sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals. Young adults and children under the age of 16 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine may accompany and be seated with a vaccinated adult in a fully vaccinated section.

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.

Coronavirus