New York City Rolls Back COVID-19 Restrictions


In the last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has relaxed certain COVID-19 restrictions on business and events. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

As COVID-19 vaccinations in New York increase, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state will take further steps in reopening. Currently, 16.8% of New York state is fully vaccinated, with almost 5,898,278 people awaiting their second vaccine. Re-opening is a sign of progress, and to many people, it is an exciting thing; however, there are concerns that reopening will create a spike in new COVID-19 cases that would reverse the progress made. 

One of Cuomo’s first announcements regarding reopening included expanding capacity for restaurants. According to a press release from the governor, starting March 19, restaurants in the city were able to open to 50% capacity, and outside the city, they could open at 75% capacity. Additionally, closing times for restaurants and bars will now be extended to 11 p.m. from the previous mandated closing time at 10 p.m.

Starting on April 2, event venues can begin to open at either 33% capacity, or 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors. If these venues choose to implement a policy that requires patrons to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, they will be able to increase their capacity even further to 150 people indoors and 500 outdoors.

These reopening policies for event venues do not extend to New York City’s many Broadway theaters. Broadway remains closed for the time being, but many are hopeful that it will re-open in the fall. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that there will be a vaccine site for theaters workers and a mobile site for off-Broadway workers.  

New York City gyms will also experience a loosening of restrictions in the coming weeks. As of March 22, gyms and fitness centers are allowed to operate at 33% capacity. Gyms will also be able to resume fitness classes that day, though they are instructed to space out class times to allow for cleaning. Additionally, starting April 5, gyms will no longer be subject to the previous 11 p.m. curfew. 

The removal of this curfew is welcome news not only to fitness centers. Casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys and billiard halls all had to close their doors by 11 p.m. during the pandemic but now are free to serve patrons later into the night once more. Billiard and pool halls opened again on March 5 with a 35% capacity limit. Movie theatres in the city opened up on March 5 as well but with a 25% capacity limit and a 50-person maximum limit.

In terms of sports arenas, teams can start welcoming back fans at 10% capacity indoors and 20% outdoors on April 1. Venues must submit a plan to the New York State Health Department to start hosting events again. These plan requirements include “face coverings, social distancing, temperature checks, spaced-out assigned seating, and a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the event for fans,” according to a guide by

Indoor entertainment centers and amusement parks started opening on March 26 with a 25% capacity. Outdoor amusement parks are set to open on April 9 with 33% capacity. Indoor and outdoor amusement parks must enforce social distancing, mask-wearing, temperature checks and are expected to clean rides or high-touch areas in-between use. Amusement parks will be selling timed tickets to help avoid and prevent big crowds. 

Lastly, the New York state travel restrictions that require domestic travelers to quarantine upon arrival to the state will be lifted on April 1. All travelers are still required to complete the Traveler Health Form

As of March 28, New York City has reported 5,040 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to The New York Times. Fordham’s Rose Hill currently has 175 active, positive cases, according to Fordham’s COVID-19 testing dashboard

With the city opening up, there are more opportunities for Fordham students to enjoy city life but also possibly become exposed to COVID-19. In signing The Ram Pledge, all Fordham students agreed to follow COVID-19 precautions both on and off campus, said Christoper Rodgers, assistant vice president and dean of students at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. 

“I hope that our students continue to take great care in their socializing habits as rules and restrictions change,” said Rodgers. “Each of us and our choices have an effect on whether these openings are as successful and sustained as we hope they will be. We ask that every student avoid crowded social situations of any kind in which social distancing and mask wearing is not occurring and that they urge friends to do the same. I truly admire our students’ perseverance— it is proof of their love for Fordham— and I know we can carry on through to finals and Commencement.”