Gov. Cuomo Limits Private Gatherings, Orders Bars to Close Early in Latest Round of COVID Restrictions

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new lockdown and social distancing restrictions for New York on Wednesday as coronavirus numbers in the state continue to trend upward.

Under the new statewide restrictions, all bars and restaurants with state liquor licenses as well as gyms must close at 10p.m., starting on Friday. Cuomo called such locations “main spreaders” of the coronavirus. Indoor gatherings at private residences across the state must also be capped at ten people.

“We’re in this last small lap, let’s just do what we have to do to get through it,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “If these measures are not sufficient to slow the spread, we will turn the valve more.”

The state currently has a nearly three percent positivity rate for coronavirus testing, with 4,820 people testing positive on Tuesday. A total of 1,628 people are hospitalized with the virus, and 21 people died from the virus on Tuesday.

Staten Island, where several hot spots have made the borough’s seven-day positive coronavirus test rate the highest in New York City, was designated a “yellow zone” on Wednesday. Starting at 10p.m. on Friday, gatherings in the borough will be limited to to 25 people, houses of worship must operate at 50 percent capacity, although schools and businesses will remain open.

“City Hall has been in discussions with the State on these guidelines and fully supports these actions. We must do everything we can to hold off a second wave and these steps will help us fight it back in New York City,” said Bill Neidhardt, press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The new restrictions come two days after drug maker Pfizer announced that its coronavirus vaccine appears to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease caused by the virus, according to an early analysis of the vaccine trial.

More than 240,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 10.3 million people have tested positive across the country. More than 1.2 million have died worldwide.

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