beaches
Wantagh, NY, USA May 27, 2011 A lifeguard boat stands vigilant, ready in the event of an emergency, on a summer's day at Jones Beach in Wantagh, New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is optimistic that beaches and pools could open at 100 percent capacity by the Fourth of July as Covid-19 vaccination rates continue to rise and virus positivity rates decline, he said on Wednesday.

The state will open beaches and pools on Memorial Day weekend with six-foot social distancing, which cuts capacity down significantly, including at Jones Beach State Park, which will be limited to 50 percent capacity starting with the Bethpage Air Show from May 28 to 30.

“We have to get ready for a great summer,” Cuomo said during a news conference in Buffalo. “The weather is turning, the winter is over, we have to get on with life. Our goal is by the Fourth of July to go to 100 percent 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, and that’s what we’re striving for.”

Cuomo announced that Tuesday’s statewide Covid positivity rate was 1.1 percent, the lowest since Oct. 17, 2020. Statewide hospitalizations for the virus have dipped under 2,000, dropping about 100 in a day to 1,928, the lowest since Nov. 14, 2020. There were 26 deaths from the virus in New York on Tuesday.

Long Island’s seven-day Covid positivity rate is 1.16 percent, about the same as the state average. Cuomo said the national average is about 4 percent. A Johns Hopkins Covid tracker puts the United States’ seven-day positivity rate at 3.1 percent.

At the same time, the number of people getting vaccinated for Covid has increased, and New York has now administered more than 17 million shots. About 60 percent of adults statewide have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 50 percent are fully vaccinated.

Cuomo has been steadily announcing reopenings and easing of Covid-19 restrictions over the past few weeks, including for sports venues, restaurants, and offices.

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