View Source

New York Will Adopt C.D.C. Guidelines on Masks for the Vaccinated

The governor of New York said Monday that the state will lift some mask requirements in accordance with the new mask guidance for vaccinated people that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

“No masks, no social distancing,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, said of the policy that will go into effect for vaccinated people on Wednesday. Masks will still be required in nursing homes, schools, health care facilities and on public transit. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask, he said in a news conference at Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan.

The move dovetails with the previously scheduled lifting of most capacity restrictions at offices, museums, restaurants and stores on Wednesday. It was significant, however, given the longstanding restrictions imposed on one of the hardest hit cities in the United States.

In addition, the city’s subway system returned to 24-hour service on Monday. There has been more than one year of overnight closings during the coronavirus pandemic to provide more time to clean and disinfect trains, stations and equipment. It was the longest planned shutdown since the subway opened in 1904.

no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people to mask or maintain social distance in many settings. The change set off public confusion and drew objections from some local officials and labor unions, including the country’s largest union of registered nurses. A number of major U.S. retailers have already lifted mask requirements, essentially turning to an honor system that relies on unvaccinated people to keep their masks on in public.

Businesses in New York can still set individual policies and some will still require masks.

View Source

SUNY and CUNY Students Must Get Covid Vaccines, Cuomo Says

The State University of New York and the City University of New York plan to require that all students attending in-person instruction in the fall be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Monday.

He said the requirement would be contingent on the federal government granting full approval to the vaccines now in use. So far, three vaccines have been given emergency use authorization in the United States, but none have full approval yet.

Pfizer and BioNTech jointly applied for full approval for their vaccine last week, and Moderna has said it plans to apply sometime in May. The approval process can take months.

The New York colleges and universities join a growing list of higher-education institutions that will require students to be vaccinated in the fall. In April, the University of California and California State University announced plans to require all students, faculty and staff on their campuses be vaccinated, once a vaccine receives full approval. That policy will affect more than one million people associated with the sprawling state campuses across California.

tracker maintained by The Chronicle of Higher Education, at least 319 campuses have announced vaccination mandates of some form for the fall.

At the end of April, the University of Maryland system announced that it would require students and staff to be vaccinated. The chancellor, Jay A. Perman, said the university was doing so to prepare for “more infectious, more harmful variants that we think could be circulating on our campuses come fall.”

Colleges and universities have been among the more closely watched institutions during the pandemic, in part because many students travel long distances to attend them and could unknowingly spur outbreaks in the surrounding communities. Iowa City, for example, which is home to the University of Iowa, experienced a surge when students returned to campus in the fall of 2020.

At the time, The New York Times reviewed 203 counties in the United States where students make up at least 10 percent of the population, and found that about half were experiencing significant increases in infections.

View Source

N.Y.’s governor outlines new seating rules for vaccinated baseball fans, and says Broadway will start to reopen Sept. 14.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Wednesday that baseball fans who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will soon be able to enjoy seating arrangements without social distancing at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, and that spectators who get vaccinated at either stadium during a game will get a free ticket.

Beginning on May 19, the same day the state is ending most capacity restrictions for businesses, fully vaccinated people will be allowed to sit in sections of the stadiums where every seat can be occupied, though they will have to wear masks. They can also be accompanied by children who are under 16 and unvaccinated, who must also wear masks.

People who have not been vaccinated will sit in sections where only one-third of the seats can be occupied, and will have to observe six-foot social distancing rules.

Both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, the home of the Mets, are mass vaccination sites, and both stadiums will offer a voucher for a free ticket to people who are vaccinated there on game days, as an incentive to receive the vaccine.

Broadway shows would start selling tickets on Thursday for full-capacity shows with performances starting Sept. 14.

Broadway, home to 41 theaters with between 600 and 1,900 seats, drew 14.6 million people who spent $1.758 billion on tickets in 2019. The pandemic had forced them all to close since March 12, 2020, and reopening is clearly going to be far more complicated than shutting down.

With as many as eight shows a week to fill, and the tourists who make up an important part of their customer base yet to return, producers need time to advertise and market. They need to reassemble and rehearse casts who have been out of work for more than a year. And they need to sort out and negotiate safety protocols.

New York Times database, the average number of new cases a day in the state had declined by 46 percent in the past 14 days, as of Tuesday. More than 36 percent of the state’s population was fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

The virus does appear to be ebbing in New York City. But the city still faces challenges from uneven vaccine coverage, the slowing pace of vaccinations and the growing prevalence of variants in the city.

View Source

N.Y.C.’s Mayor Wants City to ‘Fully Reopen’ on July 1

New York City aims to fully reopen on July 1 and allow businesses including restaurants, shops and stadiums to operate at full capacity, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, offering a tantalizing glimpse of normalcy even as his authority to actually lift restrictions on businesses was somewhat limited.

Mr. de Blasio, who made the remarks on MSNBC, said that gyms, hair salons, arenas, some theaters and museums should all expect to be open fully with no capacity limits. Broadway, he said, was on track to open in September.

“Our plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1,” he said. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters — full strength.”

But so far in the pandemic, Mr. de Blasio has not had the authority to impose or lift capacity limits on such businesses. Those restrictions have been set by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state, and on Thursday, a spokesman for the governor maintained that Mr. Cuomo had the power to make those decisions.

drive down new coronavirus cases over the next two months. From a second-wave peak of nearly 8,000 cases in a single day in January, New York City was averaging about 2,000 virus cases per day as of last week. Public health officials say that by July, if the city stays on its current trajectory, that number could drop to below 600 cases a day, perhaps lower.

“We now have the confidence we can pull all these pieces together, and get life back together,” Mr. de Blasio said. “This is going to be the summer of New York City.”

The city and the state have not always agreed on the best path forward.

A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, Bill Neidhardt, called the full reopening of the city on July 1 a “goal that we know New York City can achieve.”

“We laid out a plan, we will back it up with skyrocketing vaccination numbers and declining cases. If someone wants to deny that, let’s have that discussion in public,” Mr. Neidhardt said. “We feel strongly we’d win that debate.”

The state announced the roll back of several restrictions this week. The New York State Legislature on Wednesday suspended an unpopular pandemic directive issued by Mr. Cuomo that required customers to order food when purchasing alcohol at bars and restaurants. And Mr. Cuomo announced that a curfew that forced bars and restaurants to close early would end statewide on May 17 for outdoor dining areas and May 31 for indoor dining.

maximum capacity for indoor dining at restaurants in New York City to 50 percent, up from 35 percent. Restaurants in the remainder of the state are allowed to serve customers at 75 percent occupancy.

Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting.

View Source

New York Will Allow Walk-Ins at State Vaccine Sites

All state-run mass vaccination sites in New York will allow anyone 16 or older to walk in without an appointment and get their first dose, beginning on Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

Walk-in vaccinations will be available at state-run sites in New York City, like the Javits Center in Manhattan and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, as well as on Long Island and in upstate cities like Albany and Syracuse, the governor said.

Second doses will still be given by appointment, which will be scheduled after the first dose is administered.

“Just show up, and roll up your sleeve, and the mass vaccination sites have the capacity to handle it,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference on Tuesday.

60 and over could walk in for vaccination at 16 state-run sites. And Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced last week that city-run vaccination sites would let anyone eligible walk in for a shot.

Allowing walk-ins simplifies a process that bedeviled many New Yorkers earlier in the pandemic, when obtaining a vaccine appointment often took hours of online searching and some luck as well. The new policy may also draw out people who are still hesitant to get vaccinated, Mr. Cuomo said.

“This is our way of saying, if you were intimidated by the process of trying to make an appointment, that’s gone,” the governor said.

He said it was feasible to allow more walk-ins because fewer vaccinations were being administered across the state now — about 115,000 doses a day — than a few weeks ago, when the state peaked at about 175,000 doses a day.

45 percent of New York residents, or just over 8.9 million people, had received at least one dose of the vaccine by Tuesday morning.

Mr. Cuomo also announced at the news conference that New York would adopt the new C.D.C. guidance that fully vaccinated people can safely engage in most outdoor activities without masks.

Reports of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have declined in the state, according to a New York Times database, but the risk of infection still remains very high in New York City, where some troublesome variants of the virus appear to be on the rise.

View Source

Graduation ceremonies will be allowed in New York this spring, with restrictions.

Schools and colleges across New York State will be allowed to hold graduation ceremonies for students this spring, with restrictions depending on type of venue or its capacity, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday.

Outdoor ceremonies with more than 500 people, for example, must not exceed 20 percent of the venue’s capacity, and attendees must have proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result. Indoor ceremonies with fewer than 100 people cannot exceed 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, though the vaccination or test requirement in that case will be optional, Mr. Cuomo said.

After the pandemic hit last spring, officials in New York and across the nation warned that graduation ceremonies could fuel the virus’s spread, and many such events were canceled.

Colleges and universities began experiencing major outbreaks after students returned in the fall, and more than 120,000 cases have been linked to U.S. colleges and universities since Jan. 1. As they’ve been shuttled back and forth to campuses, depending on whether they’ve been open or closed, scientists have feared students were spreading the virus.

variants are spreading and case counts remain high in many places. That has left colleges struggling to find a consensus on how best to mark commencement.

Mr. Cuomo said that New York State’s new rules on graduation will take effect on May 1. But he said officials are still encouraging drive-through or virtual graduation ceremonies as safer options, and he warned that the pandemic was far from over.

According to a New York Times database, New York State is adding new virus cases at the fifth-highest rate in the country. As of Sunday, the state was reporting an average of 37 new virus cases a day for every 100,000 residents over the last week. The nation as a whole was averaging 21 new cases per 100,000 people.

View Source

New York Adults Eligible for Covid Vaccine on April 6

New York can begin vaccinating people 30 and older on Tuesday and will make all residents 16 and over eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 6, beating President Biden’s goal of making every adult eligible for a vaccine by May 1, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday.

New York was one of only a few states that had not yet set a timeline for universal adult eligibility since Mr. Biden’s entreaty to do so.

Though Mr. Cuomo has gradually loosened vaccine eligibility criteria over the last month, he expressed reluctance last week to set a specific target date for doing away with the state’s requirements. The governor said he did not want to outline a timeline for more widespread vaccination until he was more confident that New York would have adequate vaccine supply on hand for its population.

“I just want to make sure that the allocation projections that we’re getting from the feds are right, frankly,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference last week. “I don’t want to say ‘We’re going to open up to 30-year-olds in three weeks,’ and then something happens with the allocation.”

according to a New York Times database, second only to New Jersey. (The nation as a whole was averaging 19 new cases per 100,000 people.)

Even as the number of new cases continues to mount, the state has not faced anywhere near the level of devastation that it experienced a year ago, when hospitals were overwhelmed with patients and morgues were overflowing.

Buoyed by its vaccination progress, the state has also been gradually reopening businesses in the last several weeks. Mr. Cuomo allowed sporting events and concerts to resume at large venues last month and movie theaters to bring back audiences this month. Restaurants in New York City are now allowed to serve diners indoors at 50 percent capacity, their highest level of indoor dining since Mr. Cuomo shuttered them last year at the onset of the pandemic.

As of Monday morning, 29.6 percent of people in New York State had received at least one shot of a vaccine, while 16.8 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the state’s data.

Currently, all people 50 and over are eligible to receive the vaccine in New York, in addition to teachers, some essential workers and people with certain medical conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness from the virus.

View Source

NY Will Allow Anyone Over 60 to Get Vaccinated Starting Wednesday

New York will lower its age threshold for Covid-19 vaccine eligibility beginning on Wednesday, allowing anyone older than 60 to be inoculated, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

“That means people, like as old as I am, will now be eligible for the vaccine,” Mr. Cuomo, 63, said at an appearance in Syracuse.

The state will also expand its eligibility requirement the following week to open vaccination to a large number of public-facing workers, including government employees, nonprofit workers and essential building services workers. Those people can begin to get vaccinated on March 17.

Mr. Cuomo pointed to expected increases in supply from the federal government as the reason behind expanding vaccine eligibility.

Among the workers eligible to get vaccinated next week are public works employees, social service and child service caseworkers, government inspectors, sanitation workers, election workers, Department of Motor Vehicle employees and county clerks.

Appointments will open for people over 60 years old starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo said. People over 65 were made eligible for a coronavirus vaccine in January.

View Source