Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash

Cuomo increased NYC indoor dining capacity and approved nursing home visits as COVID rates decline. New York City health officials also recommended double masking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said indoor dining capacity in New York City can increase to 35% next Friday.

This is a similar move to New Jersey who also increased their indoor dining capacity. 

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The governor says this is due to continued declines in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates.

“Obviously we’re more sensitive to New York City because of the density, the concentration, the history, but we’re headed in the right direction. The numbers continue to be good, we’ll continue to make progress,” Cuomo said.

“I’ve said from the beginning I believe reopening is going to be accelerated by testing and we’ve been moving down that path… If a person is tested and is negative, then you can reopen.”

The governor also allowed nursing home visits to resume, even as he faces scrutiny and a federal investigation over his administration’s alleged omissions of nursing home deaths.

In addition large New York venues and arenas, including Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, will be allowed to reopen next week. They must adhere to strict COVID-19 testing guidelines though.

In mid-March, limited wedding receptions will resume. On Friday, Cuomo also set new guidance for reopening college campuses in person.

Additionally, New York State has administered 96% of all first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there have been delays due to the repeated disruptive winter storms that have hit the tri-state region.

“Every dose that should have shipped on Monday was held back, and only a limited number of Pfizer vaccines left shipping facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Cuomo said

“This delay will undoubtedly pose a logistical challenge for New York,” where state-run sites are all almost fully booked through mid-April.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has also encouraged people to double-mask. 

“Two is better than one,” De Blasio said.

Researchers found that wearing two masks could double the percentage of potential particles blocking, making it 80% effective. 

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi recommended the double-masking in tandem with other preventative measures.

“Particularly with the new virus variants, our public health precautions are that much more important, both to protect ourselves and others,” Chokshi said.

Written ByLinn Win

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