How a Restarted New York Will Look

By Amanda Rosa

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It’s Wednesday.

Weather: A hot one — high in the upper 80s and sunny.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until May 31 (Memorial Day).

Over a year into the pandemic, today marks a return to normalcy. Or does it?

As infection rates dip and vaccinations become widely available, New York State has lifted many coronavirus restrictions starting today. Strict rules on capacity are no longer set in stone, and the mask mandate is technically over, with some exceptions.

So what will New York look like now?

[New York’s reopening — and how it affects businesses — explained.]

What’s actually changing?

Businesses and houses of worship can open at 100 percent capacity, but they need to maintain six feet of distance between individuals or groups. So if you own a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or tiny nail salon, it may seem like not much has changed in terms of capacity.

For restaurants, there’s a way around that rule. They can place tables closer together if they erect five-foot-tall partitions between them. That requirement can be expensive, and health experts say Plexiglas partitions can do more harm than good.

“All of us in public health have been on the anti-Plexiglas crusade,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiologist at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Theaters and large venues like ballparks can return to full capacity if they require proof of vaccination. Broadway theaters will fully reopen in September.

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