Indoor, outdoor amusement centers can reopen with capacity limits
Indoor amusement centers can reopen on March 26 at 25% capacity, while the outdoor amusement parks can resume operations April 9 at 33% capacity, Cuomo said.
He also announced Wednesday that summer camps can reopen in June if COVID-19 trends continue declining.
All of the centers will be required to enforce social distancing and mask requirements, along with temperature checks and cleaning and disinfection of rides, attractions and high-touch areas. Any rides or attractions where distancing and disinfecting are not possible must remain closed.
Cuomo said tickets must be sold in advance, and that entry, exit and waiting times should be staggered to avoid congestion.
Indoor areas must meet enhanced air-filtration, ventilation and purification standards, he said.
Meanwhile, Cuomo said the state is opening 13 "pop up" vaccination sites throughout New York this week, including one in East Hampton.
Plus: Looking for a vaccine appointment? Try these resources to get started.
Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest on vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.
Manhasset school goes remote after 38 students test positive
Manhasset Secondary School will switch to remote learning next week and all extracurricular activities are suspended after parties and other gatherings have turned into virus "superspreader" events, the school district's superintendent said.
So far, 38 students have tested positive, prompting Nassau’s health department to recommend the closure, Schools Superintendent Vincent Butera said in a letter Tuesday.
The school will go to remote-only learning from Feb. 22 to at least Feb. 26. Further, all extracurricular activities were halted at least through Feb. 26, Butera said.
Also, the high school has canceled its winter sports season because of the outbreak, according to Jim Amen, the school's director of athletics.
Ash Wednesday during a pandemic
The Vatican has recommended the usual hands-on ash-drawn crosses on Ash Wednesday be changed for Roman Catholics this year due to COVID-19 protocols.
Across Long Island, Catholic churches are pledging to follow Vatican guidance, which advises the distribution of ashes by sprinkling them atop the head or crown, while observing pandemic protocols like wearing masks, hand sanitizing and social distancing.
Sean Dolan, a spokesman with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, said Bishop John Barres has given "dispensation" to all Catholics at Nassau and Suffolk's 133 parishes within the diocese, exempting them from receiving ashes.
The Girl Scouts of Troop 642 decided to use their annual cookie-selling efforts as a way to give back.
The troop is selling cookies through their website with an option to buy boxes to donate to employees of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, along with several local food pantries. They’re also raising money for Girl Scout Troop 6000 — based in New York City, the troop is made up of girls living in the shelter system.
Marit Molin, one of the troop leaders, said they had never before tried to intertwine cookie sales with community outreach, but this season felt different.
"The pandemic really made people step up," Molin said. "This year, people are much more aware of the needs."
More to know
Suffolk County has received more than 8,000 vaccine doses from the state this week, allowing the county to expand its vaccination operations to the Suffolk County Community College campus in Selden, officials said.
President Joe Biden is promising a majority of elementary schools will be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office.
Gwyneth Paltrow says she contracted COVID-19 several months ago, and that her symptoms have continued to linger.
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have donated $1 million to food banks for a second time to help out during the pandemic, Entertainment Tonight reports.
News for you
Socially distant ideas for a pandemic birthday. It can be difficult for teens to find the safe way to celebrate pandemic birthdays these days. Luckily, there are still several socially distant activities and things you can do at home to make the day special — from renting out a theater, to reserving an escape room or using take-home cooking kits.
Coming up on Newsday Live. Once you get vaccinated, then what? Join us on Feb. 24 for a virtual discussion on side effects, immunity, transmission and more as Long Islanders continue to get vaccinated. Register here.
ACM Awards returns to Nashville. The Academy of Country Music Awards is coming back to Nashville for a second time to hold its awards show at three different venues. The show, which is normally held in Las Vegas in April, will return on April 18.
Plus: Check this updated list of in-person and virtual Black History Month events around Long Island.
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The coronavirus may not be able to mutate beyond control. Faye Flam writes for Bloomberg: It’s been about a year since the early coronavirus alarms were raised, and despite a decline in infections, new fears are rising up. New COVID-19 variants are making pessimists worry that an even bigger next wave may be coming.
It’s true that the virus is mutating in ways more profound than biologists anticipated last summer. But new research also suggests that there may be limits to how many tricks the coronavirus has up its sleeve — and that may make it easier for vaccines to keep up.
If scientists have been somewhat blindsided by the variants, it’s because they hadn’t fully realized the way the coronavirus tends to mutate — in a way that’s distinct from influenza or HIV. This virus has a talent for shape-shifting by dropping pieces of its genetic code.
Early on, a few scientists observed these so-called deletion mutations by studying virus samples from patients with compromised immune systems. Such patients can be crucibles for viral evolution, because the virus survives in their cells for months, making copies of itself all the while.
The mutations that scientists were observing in individual patients were essentially the same as those now seen in the new variants. Keep reading.