New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference on Wednesday (March 3) that all event, arts and entertainment venues statewide will be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity starting April 2.
Venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity with up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors, Cuomo said, and if all attendees can present proof of a negative coronavirus test prior to entry, capacity can increase to up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings will be required for all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance.
“New Yorkers have done a tremendous job working to defeat COVID, and we’re gradually loosening restrictions as the numbers reduce and the public health improves,” Cuomo said in a statement. “It’s clear that if we remain vigilant, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The news comes as the music industry approaches the one-year anniversary of the pandemic-imposed shutdown on live events. A year ago this week, on March 6, 2020, Austin’s South By Southwest was forced to cancel for the first time in its history, and by the end of the month, physical events nationwide shut down entirely.
Cuomo also sightly cut back limitations on gatherings in New York starting March 22. Residential gatherings of up to 25 people can be held outdoors, while indoor residential gatherings remain capped to 10 people. Non-residential social gatherings of up to 100 people can occur indoors, and up to 200 people outdoors.
The day of the announcement, New York reported 5,323 coronavirus hospitalizations, and a positive test rate of 3.53%. The positive test rate in New York City is higher, averaging 7.44% weekly.