Pools and beaches targeted for full reopening this summer

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a COVID news conference Wednesday in Buffalo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a COVID news conference Wednesday in Buffalo.

ALBANY — Public pools and beaches statewide are on track for a return to normalcy this summer.

With significant and sustained progress against the COVID-19 pandemic so far this spring, it should be safe to relax restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. 

The hope is that the virus will be further dissipated by the time sun and swim season arrives, so as to not create a risk of waterside transmission.

Pools and beaches were able to operate with restrictions in the summer of 2020, when COVID infection rates and hospitalizations reached a low point in New York.

When summer unofficially starts on Memorial Day weekend, the ubiquitous six-foot distancing requirement will still be in place at pools and beaches, but the goal is to get to 100% capacity by the Fourth of July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The numbers and trends are encouraging:

  • The seven-day average positive COVID test rate is down to 1.28% statewide, the lowest since Oct. 25 and just one-third of the 3.84% nationwide rate as of midday Wednesday.
  • On Tuesday, the statewide hospital COVID census dropped below 2,000 for the first time since Nov. 15.
  • The daily death toll continues to decline; 26 new COVID-related deaths were recorded in New York on Tuesday (including one each in Schenectady and Montgomery counties).

During a news conference Wednesday, Cuomo said: 

“Statewide, Memorial Day, beaches and pools open with six feet social distancing. Our goal is by the 4th of July to go to 100% capacity, all beaches, all pools. If the numbers keep going the way they’re going, we’re going to be able to do that. So we would actually be able to have a normal summer, finally, in beaches and pools, and that’s what we’re striving for.”

Another metric trending positive in the spring of 2021 is vaccination:

  • On Tuesday afternoon or evening, the 17 millionth dose of COVID vaccine was administered to a New Yorker.
  • On Wednesday morning, the state reached 50% of the adult population fully vaccinated. Nationally, 45.1% of the adult population is vaccinated.
  • Factoring in partial vaccination — people who’ve started but not completed the process — 60.7% of adults in New York have received at least one dose of vaccine. 

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