ALBANY — Effective Friday, the state is ordering bars, gyms and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people in private residences.
Both moves are designed to slow the resurgent COVID-19 virus. Statewide, 4,820 new infections were confirmed Tuesday. This is the highest single-day total since April and compares with 4,578 the entire first week of August, when the pandemic was at a lull in the state.
Also, 1,628 COVID-positive New Yorkers were hospitalized Tuesday, compared with 410 on Sept. 5, when the patient census was at its lowest.
“What we’re seeing is what they predicted for months,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge. It is really getting much much worse by the day.”
There are a couple of exceptions to the new limitations: Restaurants can remain open after 10 p.m. for curbside pickup of food only, and if a single household contains more than 10 people, everyone can still gather in one room.
Cuomo said large private parties are partly to blame for the resurgent COVID levels in New York but acknowledged that the ban on them is unenforceable — it’s up to New Yorkers to do the right thing.
He also said the new restrictions on gyms and on bars, restaurants and other establishments that hold liquor licenses will need the help of local governments to enforce the rules.
Individual discipline and local government enforcement will be key, Cuomo said.
He acknowledged this would be another burden on businesses already staggering from the economic impacts of eight months of COVID in New York state.
“It’s tough on bars and restaurants, it’s tough on gyms, it’s tough on everyone,” Cuomo said. “Losing money hurts, but money can be replaced. Losing a loved one hurts forever.”
If COVID continues to ramp up, Cuomo said, the state will order reduced seating capacity at restaurants but hopefully will not need to return to the lockdown imposed in spring 2020.
Some statistics and details on COVID in New York:
- Statewide, 21 people died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the state’s official death toll to 26,026.
- Albany County reported 99 new confirmed infections Tuesday, far eclipsing its previous single-day high — 74 on April 24.
- In the eight-county Capital Region, 129 COVID-positive patients were hospitalized Tuesday; the patient census sank from 205 in early April to 15 in late September but has risen steadily since then.
- As judged by percentage of positive tests, the Capital Region is faring better than most of the state, with a positive rate averaging 1.6% over the last last seven days; the southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and North Country regions ranged from 1.2% to 1.5% positive, while the other six regions ranged from 2.2% to 4.3% positive.
For counties in and around the Capital Region, the average positive test rate over the last seven days:
- Albany 2.1%
- Columbia 2.7%
- Fulton 0.6%
- Greene 2.8%
- Montgomery 1.0%
- Rensselaer 0.9%
- Saratoga 1.3%
- Schenectady 1.7%
- Schoharie 0.5%
- Warren 0.9%
- Washington 0.9%