May 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin
New York State will reopen to near pre-pandemic levels and 24/7 subway service will resume later this month.
Capacity restrictions on most businesses will be lifted altogether on May 19 and overnight subway service will return on May 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Businesses such as restaurants, museums, theaters, retail shops, hair salons, gyms and offices will no longer have to operate at limited capacities across New York — as well as New Jersey and Connecticut.
However, large outdoor stadiums will be limited to 33 percent capacity.
“Today we announce a major reopening of New York State…,” Cuomo said. “Beginning Wednesday, May 19, most capacity restrictions will end across the tri-state region.”
The midnight curfew on outdoor dining at bars and restaurants will also end on May 17. However, the midnight curfew on indoor dining will remain in effect until May 31, Cuomo added.
To coincide with the new capacity reversals and the lifting of the outdoor dining curfew, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will resume 24/7 subway service on May 17.
“We’re going to coordinate the MTA’s resumption of 24-hour service with the reopening and [more] immediately with the curfew lift,” Cuomo said.
The MTA shuttered overnight service for more than one year as ridership plummeted at the height of the pandemic.
Cleaning crews used the closure — initially from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. — to disinfect and deep clean the subway system. The MTA lessened the out-of-service hours to 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. earlier this year.
Cuomo said the agency would continue to clean and disinfect subway cars and stations.
The lessening of COVID-19 restrictions and reopening of 24/7 subway service come at a time when the city is seeing fewer new cases of the virus and more New Yorkers have been vaccinated.