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Bigger crowds soon at museums, zoos, cinemas, arenas

NY adjusts restrictions in response to improving virus metrics

The capacity expansions include:

  • Museums and zoos can allow up to 50% capacity starting April 26.
  • Movie theaters can operate at 33% capacity on the same day.
  • Large indoor arenas can have 25% capacity on May 19.

Cuomo said the latest moves are part of his administration’s response to improving virus metrics. The seven-day average positivity rate was 2.85% on Sunday, the lowest figure since Nov. 13, he said.

"We’re actually back to where we were before we hit the holiday increase," Cuomo said Monday at a livestreamed press briefing. "So that’s very good news."

Plus: Starting today, bars and restaurants can stay open until midnight. The previous curfew was 11 p.m.

The number of new positives reported today: 312 in Nassau, 373 in Suffolk, 2,104 in New York City and 4,339 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases confirmed in Nassau and Suffolk throughout this month.

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

Key COVID-19 stats differ depending on how agencies record them

New York computes coronavirus data differently than other states, New York City and health care groups, leading to lower positivity rates and lower COVID-19 death numbers for Long Island and the rest of the state, experts say.

The state’s official COVID-19 death toll through Friday was 41,450. But the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, a well-respected source of worldwide coronavirus data, put the number at 51,537 — 24% higher. The state said the seven-day average of New York City residents who tested positive was 3.33% on Wednesday, but the city said it was 5.35% — 61% higher.

COVID-19 data can have real-world implications in understanding the trajectory of the disease, whether the public follows coronavirus-prevention measures and whether restrictions should be relaxed or tightened, experts say. Keep reading.

Experts: Prepare your pets to be alone when you're back at work

Home alone may come as a shock to the pets adopted during the pandemic whose owners could be returning to the office, experts said.

"It’s very important that people start preparing their pets now, before they have to go back," said Gia Savocchi, a certified animal behaviorist consultant for the Town of Oyster Bay with her own East Northport-based practice, Thinking Canine.

"Leaving dogs and cats alone a little bit each day is really important so we can see and gauge what their reaction will be," she said.

Read more for tips and what to look out for.

A place for LI's homeless population to get vaccinated

Some of Long Island's most vulnerable residents received their first dose of the vaccine Friday during a first-of-its-kind vaccination pod in Amityville for the region's homeless population.

More than 75 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were distributed at the Long island Coalition for the Homeless to Nassau and Suffolk residents living in shelters and on the streets.

"The homeless … is a very high-risk population because they don't have access to masks and social distancing protocols," said Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, senior vice president of community and population health at Northwell.

More to know

Small banquet halls are now eligible for COVID-19 relief grants from Nassau County, officials said.

School districts across New York on Monday begin a scaled-back version of the annual state testing for grades three to eight after being canceled last year.

Riverhead Central School District officials plan to use $13.8 million in additional state aid to restore jobs, sports and music programs that were cut during the pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that federal agencies will likely decide by Friday whether use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can resume.

New York City residents and workers age 50 or older are now eligible for walk-in vaccinations with no appointment necessary at some locations, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said.

News for you

Find the right golf course on LI. Golf has had its moment during the pandemic, with interest soaring for the socially distant activity. If you're looking for a place to golf, we have a guide to the area’s top golf experiences, where you can golf at night, get a good view or simply get a good deal.

How to start a backyard garden. Spring could be the perfect time to get your yard ready for a garden. What kind do you want and what will you need to do ahead of time? Go through these tips to get started.

Job hunting during a pandemic. This week on Newsday Live, experts answer questions and give tips on finding a job with or without a college degree in the pandemic era. Register here.

Plus: Tickets for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park were supposed to go on sale Monday, but the site was broken as of this morning. More details here.

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

Commentary

Tracking our shots. A Newsday editorial writes: Graduation Day is coming, and in-person ceremonies will be allowed. It's wedding season, and receptions, complete with guests and food and music, are permitted, too. There's baseball to play — all summer long.

And don't forget about the return of Broadway, hopefully by fall.

But the key to all of that — and New York's path forward — lies in the emphasis on COVID-19 testing and vaccination. The only way to ensure larger events remain safe is to do everything possible to avoid spreading the virus.

Those attending large gatherings are required to submit either proof of full vaccination or a negative test result. It's a trend likely to continue. And it's a significant factor in the desire to add capacity, as Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has sought for the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum this spring.

Most individuals still are handing over a piece of paper showing a negative test result, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's white card with the dates of their vaccine doses. Last month, New York introduced the Excelsior Pass, an app with a QR code that allows people to quickly show that they're cleared to attend. Other states have online portals, and private developers are designing additional apps to address the issue.

These "vaccine passports" have spurred an intense debate. Some people worry about civil liberty infringements and government tracking, while others are eager to find a bridge back to a normal lifestyle. Keep reading.

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