With more and more New Yorkers being vaccinated against the coronavirus every day, prospects are looking up as summer approaches; any kind of light at the end of the tunnel is certainly a welcome respite from the challenges of winter. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo accelerated expectations for a “normal” future by announcing that on April 2nd, events, art and entertainment venues will be able to reopen at 33% capacity. This means that up to 100 people will be able to be inside a venue at a time, and up to 200 people will be free to gather outdoors. Although the percentage of people testing positive in New York City is generally decreasing, it remains to be seen whether this move by Cuomo is premature.
According to Cuomo’s latest announcement, if a venue wants to increase the number of people it admits to 150 inside and 500 outside, every attendee will be required to test negative before they enter. Furthermore, mask-wearing and social distancing will still be required; if these directives seem rather contradictory, it’s because they sort of are. Back in January, Cuomo announced that the state would soon begin offering pop-up concerts, but this directive didn’t do much to inspire confidence in the government’s ability to ensure safe and fun activities.
Crucially, Broadway theaters are not going to be reopening alongside other entertainment venues; these theaters are scheduled to remain shuttered until June of 2021. “New Yorkers have done a tremendous job working to defeat COVID, and we’re gradually loosening restrictions as the numbers reduce and the public health improves,” Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday. “It’s clear that if we remain vigilant, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. While we continue to expand access to the vaccine throughout the state, New Yorkers should double down on the behaviors that make such an important different fighting this pandemic—washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing. This is a tough footrace, but the infection rate is down and the vaccination rate is up, and New Yorkers will get through this together as long as we stay in touch and keep this momentum heading in the right direction.”