New York’s COVID-19 rules are easing: Here’s what you need to know

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It’s a good day to be in New York.

The Empire State took a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic normalcy on Wednesday, when many COVID-19 safety measures were officially lifted.

Capacity restrictions have largely been sent packing — and fully vaccinated New Yorkers can now safely ditch their masks.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

Business capacity rules

Occupancy limits on venues including restaurants, offices, churches, museums and theaters have ended.

The easing of restrictions also applies to gyms or fitness centers and hair salons or barber shops.

Businesses will still need to have enough space for customers to keep the 6 feet of social distancing, but officials have said that establishments can scrap social distancing, so long as they require proof of a negative test or vaccination against COVID-19.


Indoor events can now grow from 100 to 250 people, following social-distancing guidelines, and can be at greater capacity if proof of testing or vaccination is in place. 

The cap of 25 people for outdoor residential get-togethers is gone, while the limit for indoor home gatherings will go up from 10 to 50.

Large outdoor stadiums can increase to 33 percent capacity.

Mask mandate

Vaccinated New Yorkers are now clear to go mask-free in most indoor settings, including at restaurants, retail stores, offices, gyms and salons if the business allows it.

The new rule won’t apply on public transportation or at schools or nursing homes, where people will still be required to mask up, Gov. Cuomo said.

Face covers will also be required at homeless shelters and jails — and in city buildings and at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio said.

People attending indoor events of 250 people or less can scrap masks with permission from the venue. At larger-scale events, including sports games and concerts, attendees can go mask-free in designated sections for people who have received their shots.

Private businesses and event spaces can still set their own restrictions.

Major retailers such as Starbucks, Walmart and Trader Joe’s have already said they will no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks indoors unless required by local laws. Target and CVS Pharmacy also changed store policy Monday.

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