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Restrictions on large-scale outdoor event venues, gyms and fitness centers outside of New York City, offices, casinos and gambling facilities will be eased as of mid-May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

Beginning May 15, offices can increase capacity from 50% to 75%, gyms and fitness centers outside of NYC can increase capacity from 33 % to 50% and casinos and gambling facilities can increase capacity from 25% to 50%, Cuomo announced.

Beginning May 19, large-scale outdoor event venues, including professional and collegiate sports and live performing arts and entertainment, can increase spectator capacity from 20% to 33%.

“We are making tremendous progress in the fight against COVID-19,” Cuomo said today. “Our vaccination rates are going up and the positivity and hospitalization rates are going down, so now we are going to open the valves of our economy even further,” the governor said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has been publicly asking the governor to allow Fairfield Properties Ballpark, home of the Long Island Ducks, to be allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

The governor in his remarks at a press conference today, referenced only “outdoor stadiums.” A press release issued afterward by the governor’s office referenced “outdoor event venues.” Neither phrase describes street festival events like Alive on 25 or the Polish Town Fair.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) is calling on the governor to to increase the number of allowable attendees at all outdoor festivals, fairs and events.

“I think we’re halfway there,” Trotta said this afternoon. He predicted the governor will soon include street fairs. Trotta is having a press conference tomorrow in Smithtown to call on the governor to ease those restrictions.

The seven-day average statewide test percent-positive rate was 2.1% yesterday, according to data released by the state health department. Yesterday’s statewide percent-positive rate was 2.4%.

Before the fall surge got underway, which started right after Halloween and continued through the winter holidays, the statewide positivity rate (seven-day average) was 1.5%. It peaked at 8% in early January. COVID-19 hospitalizations a few weeks later peaked at more than 9,000. Yesterday, 3,174 people were hospitalized with the virus — the lowest number since Thanksgiving.

The seven-day average percent positive rate in Suffolk as of yesterday was 2.3%. Yesterday’s percent-positive rate in Suffolk was 2.6%.

“This is all great news, but we are not out of the woods yet,” he said. “Washing hands, wearing masks and staying socially distanced are critical tools each of us can use to slow the spread as we continue our efforts to defeat COVID once and for all.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.