- Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor/May 12
(The Center Square) – The gradual reopening of New York hit another milestone Wednesday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s beaches and pools would be allowed to open on Memorial Day with social distancing required.
Making the announcement during an appearance in Buffalo, Cuomo told reporters it’s time to “get on with life” and enjoy the summer.
“Our goal is by the 4th of July to go to 100 percent capacity,” he said. “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.
Cuomo said later during questioning that the July 4 goal was a “leap of faith,” noting that recent COVID-19 variants, including the one in India, could cause a change in plans.
But it’s not something he’s anticipating.
“Who knows what could happen in the next six weeks?” the governor added. “But I don’t think you do the public a service, suggesting a goal that might not happen.”
In addition, Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, which is hosting the Toronto Blue Jays baseball games again this season, will have similar policies in place as Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, Cuomo announced.
That means the ballpark will have sections where those inoculated can sit in a full section and the unvaccinated will sit in sections with social distancing enforced.
With the move, the available capacity will jump from 24 percent to 35 percent, or just less than 6,000 per game. The available seats will be divided in half for those vaccinated and those who have not received a shot.
Those not vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Those wanting to sit in the vaccinated sections will need to show proof they’ve received their doses. Children ineligible to get immunized will be allowed to sit in the section with a vaccinated adult.
Cuomo said removing social distancing guidelines for vaccinated adults creates a better atmosphere because people want to congregate at games, especially with friends and family.
The governor also defended the policy saying it’s neither discriminatory nor does it create a “class system” between people.
“Classes suggests a connotation of wealth or access or privilege,” he said. “It’s none of those. It’s free. You don’t want to get a vaccine. That’s your business, but I don’t want to sit next to you. That’s my business.”
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