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Road To Reopening: Gov. Cuomo Says Days Of No More Capacity Restrictions For Businesses Are Fast Approaching

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Wednesday, May 19. That's the day Gov. Andrew Cuomo says capacity restrictions for most types of businesses will be lifted in the state.

As the COVID-19 infection rate continues to fall in New York, businesses like restaurants, offices, salons and gyms will no longer have occupancy limits.

Cuomo said it's a coordinated effort with Connecticut and New Jersey, which will also have those restrictions lifted, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Monday.


"We are very, very, very excited because it's about time just to get back on our feet," said Heshem Edris, owner of Gardenia Terrace on 10th Avenue.

Edris said at one point during the pandemic, he considered closing.

"Because we have a lot of expense -- utility and employees -- and it has been just tough," Edris said.

Watch Gov. Cuomo's May 3, 2021 Press Conference

But Edris hung in there like many others, spending thousands building an outdoor structure.

"A lot of our customers don't have the chance to come here because it's always no room for them because the capacity," Edris said.

Now, his indoor capacity will go from 35 people back to about 70.


Cuomo said the Tri-State Area plan includes no capacity restrictions at "retail stores, food services, gyms, fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops, offices, etc."

He said it will also apply to museums, theaters and Broadway.

But businesses will still have to operate in a way that guarantees unvaccinated people can keep six feet of social distancing space.

So, many are wondering, if that's the case, can they really fit more people inside?

"For restaurants, if they want to go within six feet or less, we've always had a rule in place that allows them to put physical barriers in place," a state official said.

READ MORERoad To Reopening: Curfew For New York Restaurants & Bars Extended, Outdoor Dining Restrictions Eased In Connecticut

"If you have an operating plan for vaccinated people, then you can operate at less than six feet," Cuomo said.

And some venues still have capacity restrictions, though they've increased.

"Indoor catered events, the limit increases to 250, but if they do testing it goes to 500 on May 19. Residential gatherings go to 50 on May 19. Outdoor large stadiums go to 33% on May 19," Cuomo said.

And when it comes to the curfew, the outdoor restaurant food and beverage curfew will be lifted May 17, while the indoor service curfew will be lifted May 31.

Again, when it comes to that six-foot rule, it's Centers for Disease Control guidance. So if that changes, the governor says the state will obviously follow suit.

For events that can show proof of vaccine or recent negative tests, the six-foot rule doesn't apply.

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