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Long Island wedding venues, restaurants can increase capacity this week

On Friday, Long Island restaurants, like Bar Frites

On Friday, Long Island restaurants, like Bar Frites in Greenvale, where customers dined outside in December, will begin expanding indoor service to 75% capacity. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Expanded operations at wedding venues and restaurants across Long Island start this week as restrictions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic are loosened.

The continued gradual reopening of the economy comes as New York City marks a grim milestone Sunday — the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 death in the five boroughs.

The latest state update on the coronavirus pandemic reported the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at 4,486, the first day below 4,500 since Dec. 5 and a 52% decrease from the mid-January peak, said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a news release Sunday.

"We're opening new vaccination sites and getting shots in arms across the state, but we're going to need more supply to reach a bigger portion of the population," Cuomo said. "In the meantime, New Yorkers should wear masks, wash their hands and stay socially distanced. New York has come a long way in the footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate, and although we're making progress every day, we need New Yorkers to stay safe until we defeat the COVID beast."

Cuomo said 130,350 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered across the state in the past 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days.

Overall, 6.5 million doses have been administered in the state and 22.1% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of vaccine. About 11.3% have been fully vaccinated.

On Long Island, 504,146 people have received at least one dose and 279,976 are fully vaccinated.

Starting Monday, weddings of up to 150 people will be allowed with limits, including 50% capacity. Wedding attendees must also wear masks when they are not seated.

And on Wednesday, another group of essential workers will become eligible for vaccines in the state: public-facing government and public employees. not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need and essential in-person public-facing building service workers.

On Friday, maximum capacity for indoor dining will increase to 75% in all parts of the state except New York City where it will increase to 50%.

"Catering halls and restaurants boosting capacity this week is another sign of our progress toward beating this virus and getting back to normal," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement released Sunday. "We are moving full speed ahead with our vaccinations and today we can report that 27% of our residents, or more than 1/3 of adults in Nassau, have received their first shot. We stand ready to keep up the pace when the new group of government, nonprofit and building workers become eligible on Wednesday."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking Sunday on CBS’ "Face the Nation," said he was hopeful vaccination efforts would keep the city "one step ahead" of virus variants, but said the state was not allocating the city enough doses. He noted New York City has so far vaccinated 2.8 million people, but that it could be vaccinating 500,000 more daily.

"We're vaccinating people, not just for the city, but also from the suburbs and surrounding states," de Blasio told CBS host Margaret Brennan. "We need our fair share. But we don't have enough control of our own destiny in this city and in cities around the country."

The state recorded 5,943 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Saturday out of 206,680 tests results for a daily positivity rate of 2.88%, according to statistics released on Sunday. Nassau County accounted for 513 of those new cases and 512 were in Suffolk County.

There were an additional 62 COVID-19 deaths in Saturday including five in Nassau and three in Suffolk.

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