What there is to know
- Bar seats return to New York on Monday for the first time in 14 months, as capacity for food and personal care businesses indoors jumps to 75% on Friday; further capacity increases are planned for the coming weeks with the end of state curfews
- These are the latest in a series of recently announced reopening steps for the one-time epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic; New Jersey governor expected to make important news on this front for his state later Monday
- The governor said New York state, including the city, could reopen fully at some point in the next two months if vaccinations stay on track, which means “literally everything is back to normal” .
The unique epicenter of the pandemic takes one more step towards a return to its vibrant nightlife as bar seats return to New York on Monday for the first time in over a year (no food required).
Later this week, catering capacity within the five boroughs increases to 75% – the highest limit allowed by Governor Andrew Cuomo since the first full closure of restaurants as COVID gripped the city in last spring – an imminent reopening by Governor Phil Murphy could potentially tie in New Jersey on Monday afternoon as pandemic states, once hardest hit, continue to recover from the devastating social and economic toll.
Organized events may also resume in single-family homes in New York on Monday, above the residential assembly limit of 10 people indoors (25 outdoors) if basic COVID protocol is maintained. Fixed dance areas can return to catering halls on the same day.
And in a matter of weeks, the unprecedented statewide curfews on food and beverage services will evaporate – the latest in a series of increasingly frequent and rapidly approaching reopenings, fueled by lower viral levels and increased vaccinations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that the New York statewide food and beverage service curfew will end next month for indoor and outdoor dining areas, while bar seating can revert to New York from Monday. Marc Santia reports.
Cuomo, who said New York could reopen completely, which means ‘literally everything is back to normal’ in less than two months, reported the state’s lowest COVID positivity rate in one day on Sunday. in six months, hospitalizations having fallen to 2,535, the lowest total. since November 20. Hospitalizations have declined 33% in the past two weeks and have plunged more than 44% since April 1, according to state data.
At the same time, the share of fully vaccinated New Yorkers continues to rise, albeit at a slower pace than when the nationwide rollout began. As of today, nearly 35% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, while nearly 32% of New Yorkers can say the same.
Cuomo and Bill de Blasio took a “no excuse” approach to speeding up vaccinations, with the governor opening all state-run mass vaccination sites to walk-in people of all eligible ages last week and the mayor making the same in the city a week earlier.
It’s about making it as convenient as possible for people, they say – and a strategy Murphy hinted he could roll out in New Jersey very soon as well.
The Garden State governor teased major upcoming developments in his Monday COVID briefing on the reopening and vaccine access fronts in a tweet on Sunday. Asked by reporters several times last week in response to announcements to reopen Cuomo Across the River, Murphy said “stay tuned” for Monday.It’s unclear what measures Murphy will announce later today, but the governor has made a habit of coordinating his reopening measures at least to some extent with those taken by his neighbor across the Hudson. .
Like Cuomo, Murphy credited sustained declines in baseline viral levels, particularly around hospitalizations and deaths, and increased vaccinations allowing him to chart a more aggressive, but safe, course in efforts to restore his condition. .New Jersey reported 14-day declines of 49%, 21% and 19% in new daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths, respectively, according to New York Times data, while nearly 35% of residents in the ‘State are fully vaccinated. Murphy is about 65.5% of way to his June 30 goal of fully inoculating at least 4.7 million Garden State adults.
By comparison, New York City saw 14-day drops of 44%, 21% and 23% in new daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Times. Nationally, these three metrics are also declining, but to lesser degrees – by 27%, 7% and 8%, respectively.
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More than 40% of American adults aged 18 and over are fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to CDC data, while nearly 70% of people aged 65 and over in the United States can say the same. Racial / ethnic gaps persist at virtually all levels of the deployment, although they have eased somewhat through increased awareness among community members and elected officials.
Nationally, whites make up 67.1% of fully vaccinated adults, although they make up 61.2% of the eligible population, according to CDC data. Latinos see the biggest gap in full immunizations (10.2% of U.S. adults) compared to their representation in the population (17.2%), according to the latest federal data.