N.Y. restaurants, bars can stay open until 11 p.m. starting Sunday


ALBANY — Last call will be an hour later, starting Sunday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that restaurants and bars statewide will be allowed to stay open until 11 p.m. starting that night.

The state on Nov. 13 imposed a 10 p.m. cutoff for in-person service at these establishments as a measure to control spread of the COVID-19 virus. After a summertime lull in infections, COVID’s spread began to accelerate in much of the state after Halloween.

Delivery and curbside pickup were allowed to continue at all hours, but patrons couldn’t go inside.

“Our decisions are based on science and data and we adjust as the virus adjusts. The infection rate and hospitalizations have continued to significantly decline,” Cuomo said in a news release Friday.

The statewide seven-day positive test average was down to 4.0% on Thursday, the lowest point for that key metric since Nov. 30.

Seven-day rates in the state’s 10 regions range from 0.9% (Southern Tier) to 5.1% (Long Island).

The Capital Region’s seven-day rate stood at 2.9% Thursday, down from a peak of 10.1% on Jan. 4, and the Mohawk Valley stood at 2.3%, down from peak of 10.8% on Jan. 7.

At the county level, the seven-day positivity rates were Albany 3.2%, Fulton 7.1%, Montgomery 5.1%, Rensselaer 2.4%, Saratoga 2.5%, Schenectady 2.7% and Schoharie 2.4%.

Hospitalization rates are falling as well. There were 129 COVID-positive inpatients at Mohawk Valley hospitals on Thursday, down from an all-time peak of 329 on Jan. 11, and 299 in Capital Region hospitals, down from 553 on Jan. 19.

The official statewide death toll, meanwhile, rose 135 to 36,882, including two Saratoga County residents and one resident each of Albany and Schoharie counties.

On the other side of the pandemic cycle — preventing future illness and death — the state Friday reported 132,057 doses of vaccine administered in the previous 24 hours. A total of 160,075 first and second doses have been administered in the Capital Region and 66,113 in the Mohawk Valley.

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