Gov. Cuomo: Different rules for vaccinated baseball fans in stadiums vs. unvaccinated

Coronavirus

NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing Wednesday to update New Yorkers on the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest metrics, reopening measures, and new rules for baseball spectators based on vaccination status.

New numbers

The governor provided the following data Wednesday:

  • 165,597 COVID-19 tests reported Tuesday
  • 2,463 new confirmed cases
  • 1.49% average positivity rate statewide
  • 31 new COVID-19 deaths
  • 2,458 statewide hospitalizations (lowest since November 21, 2020)
  • 610 in ICU (lowest since November 24, 2020)
  • 379 intubated (lowest since December 2, 2020)

“Overall, 1.49%,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That is the lowest since October 28 and that is a very big deal for us. That is really, really great news.”

Regionally, the seven-day average positivity rates are as follows:

  • Western New York: 3.12%
  • Finger Lakes: 2.84%
  • North Country: 2.09%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.71%
  • Long Island: 1.67%
  • New York City: 1.61%
  • Central New York: 1.51%
  • Capital Region: 1.49%
  • Mohawk Valley: 1.44%
  • Southern Tier: 0.75%

“Positivity across the state, and I talk about this all the time, but I want people to ask themselves why is there a variance in positivity across the state?” Gov. Cuomo said. “Same state, same governor, same health commissioner, same message, same briefing. Why is there such a variance in the positivity rate across the state? There’s only one answer: Because it is the behavior of that community that is determining the positivity rate.”

Vaccination

The governor said, as of Wednesday, 16,071,778 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in New York state.

The governor said 9,421,044 New Yorkers have received at least one dose — 58.% of the eligible population statewide. Additionally, the governor said 7,255,525 New Yorkers are now fully vaccinated — 45.6% of the eligible population statewide.

The governor reiterated that the state’s vaccination focus is now on the youth and the doubtful.

“We must continue to vaccinate, and we’re seeing the numbers slow on vaccination, and if there’s one dial that gives me pause it’s that the number of people coming it to get vaccinated has dropped, despite the fact that its much easier to get vaccinated,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re seeing a drop off, I call the two drops the youthful and the doubtful. They have been less of an emphasis through all of this. They are the two works we are working on, but the arrows are pointing in the right direction.”

Reopening

On Monday, the governor held a briefing on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts, including a target date of May 19 for a “major” reopening development.

  • Business capacity limits to be replaced with space available to maintain six feet of social distancing on May 19 in New York and New Jersey
  • Outdoor social gathering limit increases to 500 on May 10 in New York; indoor social gathering limit increases to 250 on May 19 in New York
  • Outdoor residential gathering limit is removed and indoor residential gathering limit increases to 50 on May 19 in New York
  • Large-scale indoor venue Capacity increases to 30% and large-scale outdoor venue capacity increases to 33% on May 19, proof of vaccination or recent negative test still required in New York

“We have dramatically lifted capacity, basically to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So that’s really the capacity restriction that remains, the six feet social distance.”

The governor said Broadway tickets will on on sale Thursday for 100% capacity shows in theaters beginning on September 14.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy says this extends to all shows, concerts, and ticketed events statewide:

Baseball

The governor also said the state is teaming up with the New York Yankees and the New York Mets to bring pop-up vaccine clinics to baseball stadiums, adding that fans who get vaccinated at the ballpark will receive a free ticket to a baseball game.

“You can get vaccinated at the game,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s on your way, stop and get a vaccine. If you get a vaccine you get a free ticket to a Yankees or Mets game. So you get a vaccine, it’s convenient, you’re going there anyways. Thanks to the generosity of the Yankees and the Mets, if you get a vaccine, they will give you a free ticket to the game.”

The governor said that fans attending the games will soon be subject to different rules depending on their vaccination status.

“Starting May 19, for vaccinated people — normal capacity, normal seating for people who are vaccinated,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Sit next to each other in a section, sit next to your friends, sit next to your families. Normal capacity, normal seating. Vaccinated families who have a child under 16 who is not eligible, that child can be seating with a family. We ask them to wear masks, but you attend the game like you would two years ago. For unvaccinated people, the six foot distance applies, with masks, and that comes out to 33% in those sections.”

The governor was joined in Wednesday’s briefing by Yankees President Randy Levine and Mets President Sandy Alderson. Levine said the stadium sections will be split into groups of those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated. They said more details would be forthcoming.

“My agenda is very simple,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I want to incentivize as many New Yorkers as possible to get vaccinated.

The governor said incentivizing vaccines is the best route to immunizing the unvaccinated New Yorkers because he cannot legally mandate vaccines.

“You cannot mandate vaccines because the vaccines are approved under something called an emergency use authorization, EUA, and by law, you can’t mandate a vaccine approved under an EUA,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So you can’t, say for example, college students must have a vaccine. You cannot mandate a vaccine under an EUA. You can mandate measles which had a full approval, but you can’t mandate these vaccines which are still all under emergency use authorization.”

The governor said the vaccinated and unvaccinated sections in stadiums would be staggered, so neither group would have better seating opportunities.

“It’s not like the sections are going to be ‘you get a good seat I get a bad seat,'” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s not like you get the nosebleed seat because you’re unvaccinated and the vaccinated people get the better seats — it doesn’t work that way.”

The governor said the plan for vaccines at games will be to use Johnson and Johnson to avoid rescheduling conflicts for a second dose.

Duffy suggested the state bring a similar vaccine clinic and incentive offer to Rochester’s Frontier Field for a Red Wings game.

The Rochester Red Wings responded to the announcement on spectator rules with a SpongeBob SquarePants meme on Twitter Wednesday afternoon:

Watch the full press briefing

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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