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Bringing baseball fans back — with limitations

Mets, Yankees can reopen with fans at 20% capacity

Cuomo announced major sports venues will be able to open for activities at 20% capacity starting April 1, as the state pushes toward reopening its economy and recreation after pandemic closures over the past year.

For Citi Field, that means up to 8,384 fans in the stands during their home opener on April 8, while up to 10,850 fans can be at Yankee Stadium during their home opener on April 1.

Fans will be required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to enter, and must continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Cuomo painted an optimistic picture of a hopeful spring for New York, emphasizing lower infection rates and the continuation of a massive vaccination campaign, which is expected to get a boosted supply. While positivity rates have declined since the holidays, officials on Tuesday said they've been exploring why rates have plateaued above those from last summer.

Vaccines will continue to be administered at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field during the season.

Meanwhile, performing arts venues with at least 2,500-person capacity can also open for concerts and shows on April 1 at 20% capacity, while indoor facilities that hold at least 1,500 will be capped at 10%, he said.

The number of new positives reported today: 632 in Nassau, 651 in Suffolk, 4,048 in New York City and 7,796 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases recorded each day this month in New York City and in the state.

Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Some Copiague parents want students back in classrooms

Copiague parents demanded their children get the option to go back to classrooms for full in-person learning at a school board meeting Monday, arguing students would benefit from personalized learning the school setting can offer.

They complained about having to choose between all virtual classes or following a hybrid model under district restrictions to reduce the risk of virus exposure.

"The parents that have concerns regarding COVID have the choice to keep their kids remote five days a week," said Kim Lapina, 43, who has a second-grader at Deauville Gardens West Elementary School. "The parents who feel that five days in-person education is vital don’t have that choice."

School officials said they can’t bring in all students under current state restrictions since classrooms accommodate up to 15 students, six-feet apart.

School leaders across Long Island say they're awaiting updated state reopening guidelines before considering changes to distancing protocols, which comes amid a national debate over how far apart people should be in schools.

Health experts: Take whichever vaccine you can get ASAP

Both Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence E. Eisenstein and Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson H. Pigott agree: Get any shot you can get to protect against COVID-19 as soon as you can.

Speaking Thursday during the latest Newsday Live webinar, both commissioners said it's for certain that no matter which of the three U.S.-available vaccines you get, there's a near-100-percent chance symptoms would be minimized if you contracted COVID-19.

"When we look at efficacy," Eisenstein said, "the most-important thing is people aren't dying [once they've been vaccinated]."

Read more, and watch the replay of the webinar here.

Golfing during the pandemic trend continues

This time last year, the Long Island golf community was reeling from the effects of the pandemic when courses were closed and then opened with severe limitations that were gradually eased. But who knew what was to come?

"Last season was extraordinary with regards to the amount of golfers we saw at Long Island state park golf courses," said Chip Gorman, New York State Parks regional director for Long Island. "I want to say we were around 77,000 more rounds in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a sky rocketing increase."

It was an increase that was typical of what happened across the Island last year during the pandemic as people came to one of the few activities allowed by the state, and one with built-in social distancing. The trend isn't showing any signs of slowing down as the season opens up.

More to know

The IRS says it's delaying the traditional tax filing deadline from April 15 until May 17, giving Americans extra time to prepare their taxes.

The second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding will shut down on March 31, and lenders are encouraging small businesses and nonprofits to apply now.

Gas prices nationwide have been rising for weeks, due in part to the improving economy and consumers driving more as state and local governments lift COVID-19-related business restrictions.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from 725,000 to 770,000, a sign that layoffs remain high even as much of the U.S. economy is steadily recovering.

The Half Hollow Hills West at Westhampton high school football game scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday has been postponed and Hills West will be forced to quarantine for 10 days, the director of athletics for the district said.

News for you

Stroller friendly walking paths. Get out in the fresh air for a walk or jog with your little one. Don't know where to go? Here's a list of parks, preserves and beachfront favorites on Long Island that welcome stroller wheels.

New spot for takeout, delivery only. A new Umberto’s location that opened in February in Oyster Bay is take-out-and-delivery-only. It's the smallest location of the pizza chain to date, but the menu is nearly as big.

TV shows coming this spring. TV production resumed but COVID-19 production protocols remained, which delayed the return of many TV series until later this year or next. But there's still plenty coming this spring to watch in real-time or to stream. Here's a list of 46 shows to keep on your radar.

Plus, on Newsday Live next week: Join us and Long Island LitFest for a virtual discussion with Don Lemon, the anchor of the popular news program "CNN Tonight," about his new book, "This is the Fire." Register here for the Wednesday event.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

MTA must enforce masks on the LIRR. Reader Richard Trentacosta, of Valley Stream, writes in a letter to Newsday: In addition to all the comments about the Long Island Rail Road cuts in services, there is another point to be made: the lack of enforcement of the mask requirement ["LIRR adds cars, but service is still cut," Letters, March 11].

I usually take the Long Beach/Far Rockaway line from Valley Stream to Penn Station in the afternoon and return around midnight. There are always at least two or three riders not wearing masks or wearing them wrong. When I ask the conductors about it, they give the lame excuse that they make an announcement to wear them so what else could they do.

I also want to know where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police are. I usually see several of the MTA’s finest standing around Penn Station at around 12 a.m., texting and chatting. I guess that is their interpretation of patrolling and enforcing rules. People with no masks walk right past them and they say nothing.

The masks, per LIRR announcements, are required in the stations as well as on the trains. So why is the mandate to wear masks on public transportation not being enforced by either the police or LIRR? I wonder if a single $50 fine has ever been given. Is it laziness or management’s decision to be politically correct and not offend? How many have maybe died because of it? Read this and more reader letters here.

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