A guide to NY's major step toward reopening

People eat at Gallo Colombian Restaurant on Main Street in...

People eat at Gallo Colombian Restaurant on Main Street in Patchogue on May 1 while crowds browse shops and restaurants. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

As COVID-19 cases remain at low levels across New York, capacity limits will largely be lifted on Wednesday in the state.

The changes include how many can attend a concert or sporting event to how many people are permitted to attend an indoor residential gathering. Some of the changes include:

  • For businesses: The state business capacity rules will be removed, but many businesses will be limited by the space available for patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. That applies to retail, food services, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and houses of worship.
  • Gatherings: Indoor social gathering limits will increase from 100 to 250. The outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people — with space appropriate for social distancing. The indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people.

Newsday has a full breakdown of these changes, and answers to questions about them and the new mask-wearing mandates.

Meanwhile: More than 10 million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday. On Long Island, about 1.3 million people have received at least one dose, and about 1 million are fully vaccinated, data shows.

The number of new positives reported today: 69 in Nassau, 68 in Suffolk, 402 in New York City and 1,030 statewide.

The chart below shows how much of Long Island has been partially or fully vaccinated in recent days.

This chart shows the cumulative percentages of Long Islanders who...

This chart shows the cumulative percentages of Long Islanders who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

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

What to know about MSG, Barclays expanding capacity

The Quershif family takes a selfie outside Madison Square Garden...

The Quershif family takes a selfie outside Madison Square Garden before an NBA game between the Knicks and Golden State on Feb. 23. Credit: AP/Brittainy Newman

In time for the playoffs beginning this weekend, the Knicks and Nets can drastically increase arena capacity at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center.

In a news conference Monday, Cuomo announced that 50% of the arenas are being set aside for fully vaccinated fans with no need for social distancing. Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan estimated the Knicks would be able to bring approximately 13,000 fans into the arena.

The teams had been operating at 10% of capacity in the regular season, a number that was expected rise for the playoffs. Already, the number of Garden fans has jumped to 5,700. But the new rule, following the new CDC guidelines, has escalated that drastically. Read more about the changes in this story by Newsday's Steve Popper.

LI landlords call for more COVID-19 relief for eateries, bars

Real estate companies on Long Island, many of whom have restaurants and bars as tenants, are calling for more federal grants for those businesses.

The developers’ group, Association for a Better Long Island, asked Congress and the administration of President Joe Biden to double funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, or RRF, in a letter sent Sunday.

ABLI’s request follows comments made to Newsday by Biden’s small business chief that the RRF’s $28.6 billion is nearly gone less than two weeks after the program started.

Homebuyers explore LI's walkable communities

Domenic Colavito and Amanda Singer, with their dog Holly, moved to...

Domenic Colavito and Amanda Singer, with their dog Holly, moved to Patchogue from Manhattan last year. Credit: Morgan Campbell

As the urban exodus to Long Island continues this spring, many city dwellers are finding the best of both worlds in homes and apartments around Long Island’s walkable downtowns.

Moving to the suburbs won’t necessarily turn them into social hermits or force them to drive everywhere, real estate experts say.

Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a Northport-based nonprofit planning organization, said the desire for walkable towns here is "nothing new. There’s been a two-decade-long effort by over 50 downtowns [on Long Island] to improve walkability and approve projects."

Read more and see some LI communities that boast walkable Main Streets or are taking steps to revitalize.

More to know

The Malverne Cinema & Art Center is set to reopen on...

The Malverne Cinema & Art Center is set to reopen on Friday. Credit: Steve Remich

Two independent movie theaters — the Malverne Cinema & Art Center and the Bellmore Movies and Showplace — will reopen Friday after months of darkness.

For immunocompromised Americans — about 3 to 4% of the U.S. population — the shots may not work fully, or at all, as emerging research shows 15 to 80% of those with certain conditions are generating few antibodies.

Cuomo's book deal for writing about COVID-19 leadership was worth $5.12 million, he disclosed Monday.

News for you

Mackayla Schultz, 9, learns horseback riding at the Babylon Riding...

Mackayla Schultz, 9, learns horseback riding at the Babylon Riding Center in West Babylon on April 24. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Horseback riding for beginners. Adult first-timers are way more fearful than children in general, one expert said, but anyone can learn to ride. We have a guide that explains where to go for adult and kid classes, what to bring and how to overcome your fears if trying horseback riding for the first time.

Tuxedo rentals are virtual now, too. Long Island grooms are renting tuxedos and wedding suits virtually now, and having them delivered to their doors. It's a trend in the wedding industry that includes virtual measurements and style consultations to at-home try-ons. See how it works.

Drive-in concerts "under the stars." The Town of Oyster Bay's 2021 "Music Under the Stars" drive-in summer concert series at TOBAY Beach in Massapequa kicks off on July 6. It's free and open to all town residents.

Kids and the vaccine. Long Island medical and education experts will answer your questions about vaccinating children during a talk moderated by Newsday Associate Editor Joye Brown on Friday afternoon. Sign up for the virtual discussion here.

Plus: Nassau County homeowners at risk of foreclosure can get help at two free events in the next few weeks. Both events require masks and social distancing.

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


Pedestrians walk along a street in Brooklyn in October.

Pedestrians walk along a street in Brooklyn in October. Credit: Bloomberg/Mark Kauzlarich

Vaccines in, masks out. A Newsday editorial writes: It's time for everyone to see you smile again.

For the fully vaccinated, this is a moment to celebrate. If you've had your shots, and you're comfortable doing so, take off your masks and show us your smile.

Come Wednesday, New York will adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that allow those who are vaccinated to remove their masks both outside and inside, with a few exceptions, including on public transit, in schools and at health care facilities. This is welcome news that comes as the state also will lift most capacity restrictions for restaurants, movie theaters and more on Wednesday, albeit with social distancing still in place.

The numbers support the state's moves. Long Island's seven-day positivity rate now hovers just below 1%, though the state's rate is slightly higher. And 52.2% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

We've come a long way. It's important to understand that these steps can be taken primarily because of the protection that comes with COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccination rates are slowing considerably, and getting more shots into arms must be the highest priority. Keep reading.