In a conference call to reporters today, Governor Cuomo said that indoor cultural institutions, aquariums, and museums in New York City can reopen on August 24, provided they adhere to a 25-percent occupancy limit, timed ticketing, pre-set staggered entry, face-covering enforcement, and controlled traffic flow. He also responded to recent calls from gym owners, saying that he’ll be releasing reopening guidelines for gyms on Monday.
The Governor also announced today that bowling alleys can reopen on Monday, August 17 at 50-percent occupancy. Every other lane must be closed, sanitation protocols must be put in place, and masks must be worn. And because of restrictions on indoor dining, food and beverage service won’t be allowed in New York City.
As for museums, many have already announced late-August opening dates pending state approval. This includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art (August 29), The American Museum of Natural History (September 9), and the New-York Historical Society (September 11).
Low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums, operating at 25-percent capacity was part of the state’s fourth phase of reopening, which New York City technically entered on July 20. However, this piece was put on hold indefinitely at the time for the city, as was indoor dining.
Indoor dining, malls, performance venues and theaters, and gyms still do not have a reopening date. As for gyms, yesterday a group of more than 1,500 gym owners in the state, including 500 from NYC, filed a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo and the state, reported Gothamist. The governor has previously maintained that opening gyms now would be too dangerous. “Gyms have been a nationally identified source of infections,” he said last week. However, on Monday, he will provide a clearer outline of their path to reopening.
Restaurant owners have also joined forces, not demanding that they be allowed to reopen, but hoping for systemic changes when the time comes that will help the thousands of businesses in dire financial straits. They penned a letter to the governor last week asking, among other things, that the tipped minimum wage be eliminated and that a 5 percent “safe reopening” surcharge can be enacted.
Yesterday’s positive rate for COVID in New York State was 0.85%. This is the seventh day in a row that the number has been below 1%. On Wednesday, the state performed a record-setting 87,900 tests.
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