Govs. Murphy, Lamont and Cuomo Announce Easing of Pandemic Restrictions

May 4, 2021 by Reece Nations
In this March 24, 2021 photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at his offices in New York. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Monday announced the easing of pandemic restrictions on businesses, gatherings and venues in their respective states. 

In a joint release, Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut said the easing of the restrictions is the result of “significant progress in vaccinations and sustained reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.” 

“With our COVID-19 numbers, particularly hospitalizations, trending decisively in the right direction and our vaccination goals within reach, now is the time to take major steps to reopen our economy and loosen both indoor and outdoor gathering and capacity restrictions,” Murphy said in a written statement. “We’ve done this the right way, in partnership with our neighboring states of New York and Connecticut, and by allowing data, science, and public health to guide our decision-making.”

Murphy continued, “Over these next few weeks, I encourage all remaining eligible New Jerseyans to get vaccinated so we can continue fighting back against this virus and move toward a ‘new normal’ for ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones.” 

While Connecticut previously announced the elimination of limits on table sizes in venues and the requirement that alcohol be served only with food effective May 1, all remaining restrictions on businesses will expire on May 19.

Currently, business’s capacities in the region are capped at a percentage of its maximum occupancy. However, by May 19 businesses in New York and New Jersey will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet.

“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,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers and our partners in government, we are now able to increase capacity limits for businesses, event venues and residences to reflect what we’re seeing in the COVID data. 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.” 

Cuomo continued, “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. With the addition of walk-in appointments, we’ve made it as easy as ever to get your shot, so there are truly no excuses.” 

The limit on outdoor social gatherings will be increased to 500 patrons by May 10 in New York, and by May 19 the indoor limit on social gatherings will increase to 250 patrons. Restrictions on outdoor residential gatherings in New York will be completely lifted by May 19 and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase to 50 people that same day. 

Capacity limits in New York on large indoor and outdoor venues will also be increased to 30% and 33%, respectively, on May 19. The state will still require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test at certain venues. 

“Our region has led by example since the beginning of the pandemic, taking the virus seriously and working collaboratively across state lines to the benefit of all of our residents,” Lamont said in a written statement. “We were able to announce the elimination of business restrictions due to a nation-leading vaccine distribution program which benefits all Connecticut residents, and our neighbors in New York and New Jersey.”

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