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Capacity limits to expand for offices, gyms, casinos

More people can be in offices, gyms, casinos, outdoor stadiums in May

Starting May 15, offices can expand capacity from 50% to 75% of their facilities, and gyms and fitness clubs outside of New York City will be able to go from 33% to 50% capacity, Gov. Cuomo said.

At the same time, casinos and gaming venues will be able to go from 25% to 50%.

Starting May 19, outdoor stadiums will be able to increase capacity from 20% to 33%.

Cuomo said these capacity expansions were guided by declining COVID-19 indicators and more people getting vaccinated.

Speaking Monday from a livestreamed news conference at the State Fair site in upstate Syracuse, Cuomo also announced the fair would return this year, marking a push toward "more and more economic activity."

Meanwhile, movie theaters, museums, zoos and other entertainment venues were able to up their capacities starting today.

ICYMI: The pause on use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which lasted 11 days, was lifted by U.S. health officials Friday and Cuomo said Saturday New York would resume using it immediately.

The chart below shows the average positivity rates over a seven-day period this month in Nassau and Suffolk.

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

Long Islanders rely on cycling, walking during pandemic

During a time when COVID-19 kept many off the roads, trains and airplanes, it gave a boost to alternative transportation modes: cycling, walking and public buses.

Long Islanders working remotely have looked to get out of their houses and rediscover their neighborhoods. Bike retailers have struggled to keep up with demand and walking advocates have been pushing for increased pedestrian safety.

Bus providers here have seen a sizable decrease in their commuter base, but still played a key role in transporting essential workers — and lost far fewer riders than the Long Island Rail Road during the pandemic.

Read more about evolving transportation in this story from reporter Alfonso A. Castillo.

Where will the record aid increase to LI schools go?

Federal and state authorities are pumping an extra billion dollars-plus into Long Island's schools for 2021-22 and beyond, according to data analyzed by Newsday.

The $1.27 billion in funding, which surprised many local educators with its size and scope, will mean more after-school tutoring, more summer schools and more prekindergarten classes for the Island's 124 districts, officials told Newsday.

Also on districts' agendas are building improvements related to the COVID-19 pandemic — for example, upgraded ventilation systems and cleaning services — along with extra purchases of electronic tablets and expansion of broadband accessibility to aid in online instruction.

Where are dollars coming from? Reporter John Hildebrand has a breakdown of the funding, including how much each district will get.

A martial arts studio's fight for pandemic survival

The pandemic devastated the fitness industry, with many gyms, yoga and martial arts studios now closed. Resiliency has new meaning to Luiza Raab-Ponpecorvo, owner and instructor at Atomic Tae Kwon Do in Huntington.

Prior to the pandemic, her classes for children and teens were solely in person. But she started offering classes online in March 2020 and soon after even invited parents to join their children in classes at no additional cost. That and other tweaks to her business got her through tough times, though she lost some clients.

She shared her survival strategies in this Q&A with Newsday.

More to know

Santana's concert with Earth, Wind & Fire was supposed to take place in August at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater — rescheduled from 2020 — but it's been postponed again to summer 2022.

The European Union is finalizing plans to allow U.S. tourists to travel there this summer, officials said.

Hundreds rallied in Great Neck on Sunday to condemn hate and demonstrate solidarity days after the U.S. Senate passed legislation to address a surge of violence targeting Asian Americans during the pandemic.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released a statement Friday saying mandatory testing for high-risk high school sports is no longer required.

The Biden administration is expanding a program to feed as many as 34 million schoolchildren during the summer months, using funds from the coronavirus relief package approved in March.

For the fourth straight day, India on Sunday set a global daily record of new virus cases, spurred by a new variant that emerged there.

News for you

When you can expect summer staples to reopen. You don't have to wait until Memorial Day weekend for a taste of summer fun. Outdoor play centers, parks, amusement centers and more are returning, but with limited capacity. See our guide that breaks down when your favorite warmer-weather venues will open.

A guide to college commencements. Long Island colleges and universities are coming up with graduation plans tailored to pandemic safety, which range from entirely remote to car caravans to in-person stadium ceremonies. We have a guide to what some schools are planning.

Your next DIY at-home project. Transforming teen bedrooms has become a focal point during the pandemic as they've become much more than just a place to sleep, with remote learning and spending more time at home. You can redesign these rooms on a budget with these tips.

Next on Newsday Live. Join us at noon on Tuesday for a virtual session about how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. It will cover building your best profile, advancing your career and landing a job. Register here.

Plus: Looking for an overview on what happened during this year's pandemic Oscars ceremony? Newsday's Rafer Guzmán has the scoop.

You can sign up for our COVID-19 text messages to get the most important virus news and information.


Kudos to teens who aided vaccine shots. Reader Terry McPherson, of Bellmore, writes in a letter to Newsday: I am far from computer illiterate yet was having difficulty securing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

I then saw the article "A cure for frustration" about the website It was an incredibly well-designed and easy-to-navigate site, and I got an appointment. I received a detailed email outlining all the steps needed before the appointment. Noah Lika and Will Kurka, the two 17-year-old Bay Shore High School seniors who launched the free website in March, have done a tremendous community service. They used their talents to create something incredibly important and helpful. They are true cyber heroes and deserve to be recognized for their efforts to help the Long Island community.

Read more reader letters, including one from a resident calling for mandatory vaccinations.