Large sports and event venues will be allowed to admit more fans

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, SPAC, is pictured on May 4.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, SPAC, is pictured on May 4.

ALBANY — COVID restrictions for larger sports and performing arts venues will be relaxed a bit in New York.

Starting April 1, more people will be allowed to attend events, but still with the tight protocols to prevent spread of the virus: Attendees must present proof of vaccination or recent negative test, sit in assigned distanced seats, wear masks, submit contact information and, if it’s an indoor venue, breathe filtered or purified air.

And the state Department of Health must approve events and the venue itself.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that the move will allow in-person spectators at New York Mets and Yankees baseball games in New York City.

“New Yorkers love to root for the home team, and it was especially difficult to see great professional sports teams close down as we implemented restrictions necessary to protect the public health,” Cuomo said. “As New York’s COVID situation improves, we’re giving New Yorkers the opportunity to cheer on the Yankees and Mets in person as long as they stay safe. I look forward to seeing our beloved teams open Citi Field and Yankee Stadium again as we continue to recover from this pandemic.”

The attendance limits starting April 1:

  • Large outdoor performing arts venues that hold more than 2,500 people can reopen at 20% capacity.
  • Stadiums and arenas with 10,000 or more seats can operate at 20% capacity, up from 10%.
  • Sports venues that hold up to 1,500 people indoors can reopen with 10% capacity
  • Sports venues that hold up to 2,500 people outdoors can reopen with 20% capacity.

If the pandemic situation improves, the testing/vaccination requirement may be lifted in mid-May, Cuomo said, and venue capacity may be increased.

In other COVID news Thursday:

  • The seven-day average positive COVID test rate stood at 3.3% statewide, 1.9% in the Capital Region and 1.6% in the Mohawk Valley. At the county level, the rate was Albany 1.7%, Fulton 3.0%, Montgomery 2.5%, Rensselaer 1.3%, Saratoga 2.5%, Schenectady 2.0% and Schoharie 2.7%.
  • Statewide, 4,536 people were hospitalized with COVID, including 90 in the Capital Region and 64 in the Mohawk Valley.
  • The official state COVID death toll reached 39,748 with 57 new deaths, including one in Montgomery County.

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