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Cuomo announces easing of some restrictions for venues

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state and NYS Fair officials on Monday, 4/26/21.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state and NYS Fair officials on Monday, 4/26/21.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced the state will ease COVID-19 restrictions for some venues in the coming weeks.

On Monday, Cuomo said that among the changes that are in the works as the state’s overall COVID positivity numbers improve.

Spectator capacity at large-scale, outdoor event venues, including professional and collegiate sports and live performing arts & entertainment will increase from 20% to 33% beginning May 19. (That increase will coincide with the previously announced increase in large-scale, indoor event venue capacity). 

Other changes, starting May 15 include:

-Increasing capacity at casinos and gaming facilities from 25% to 50%.

-Allowing offices to increase from 50% to 75% percent capacity.

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-And giving the OK for gyms and fitness centers to increase capacity from 33% to 50%.

John Hrinda, division president for Planet Fitness clubs in New York state said  this is very welcome news. There's the possibility it will bring new customers to fitness clubs including some people who normally would have started in January, which is when a lot of gyms see an increase in membership as people make New Year’s resolutions.

“Our new resolution time will be May this year and I really do see it happening. We’re seeing an increase in the amount of people that want to join, that want to learn about Planet and other gyms, so it’s a great, great, time,” Hrinda said.

He added that what is also likely to continue to drive more people returning to fitness clubs is the fact that more of them have been getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

During an event and press briefing in Syracuse at the New York State Fairgrounds Monday, Cuomo also announced that a “reimagined” New York State Fair will happen in that community from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. 

There will be some modifications, including limiting attendance to 50% of capacity. Cuomo said that the capacity limit could be increased as it gets closer to the Fair events if COVID-19 numbers continue to improve.

The Fair was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.