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New York to loosen gathering limits amid COVID. What there is to know

New York state will soon ease limits on gatherings in homes as well as small art, entertainment and sports venues as coronavirus cases continue to decline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The new rules will allow event venues with fewer than 10,000 customers to reopen at up to 33% capacity, to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. If attendees can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of entry, these caps increase to 150 people and 500 people, respectively. It takes effect on April 2.

Additionally, new rules will allow social gatherings in public spaces for up to 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, up from the current cap of 50 people. They will also allow 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in residences, up from 10 currently. The changes will take effect on March 22.

Requirements to wear face coverings and practice social distancing will remain in place under the new rules, state officials said.

The St. James Theater in Manhattan remains dark on October 14, 2020, as do all theaters on Broadway.

The move comes after New York State last month allowed major sports arenas and entertainment venues to open at 10% capacity with mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and other coronavirus safety precautions.

The announcement was made at Cuomo’s first press briefing since Feb. 22, as his administration faced scandals surrounding him withholding data on COVID-19 deaths in the nursing home and accusations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, including by two women who worked for him as aides.

It came as the New York Statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate was around 3.1% on a seven-day average, continuing its steady decline since a post surge. -vacation which reached almost 8% of test positivity.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but we can’t stop driving now,” Cuomo said, referring to his reopening plan to maintain pandemic safety measures.

Continued: Andrew Cuomo was riding high during COVID. Now he faces a scandal of his own making.

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David Robinson is the state health care reporter for USA TODAY Network New York. He can be reached at[email protected] and followed on Twitter:@DrobinsonLoHud