The five remaining yellow zones across New York State, four of which are in the five boroughs, will be lifted as of Monday, March 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced hours after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.
The governor also announced indoor fitness classes will be allowed to start back up again come March 22 at 33% capacity with health screening and contact information required at sign-in.
The creation of the zones was initially intended to target areas with the highest transmission of COVID-19 cases during the peak of the crisis. Yet those zones remained, even as the rest of the city and state saw restrictions lifted as coronavirus cases dipped.
“Today we’re announcing that effective this Monday, March 22, the final five yellow zones clusters will be lifted. So all clusters will be lifted,” Cuomo said. “That means any specific restrictions in those locations that had been in place will be lifted, and now will fall in line with overall state guidance.”
Inside yellow zones, restaurants and bars are permitted to seat a maximum of only four people per table, residential gatherings are limited to 10 people, and gatherings inside houses of worship are limited to 50% max capacity.
Movie theaters, billiards halls, casinos, gyms and fitness centers will also see loosened restrictions come April 5, with 11 p.m. curfews being lifted, Cuomo said. Bars and restaurants, however, must continue to abide by their 11 p.m. curfew — as will catering businesses, which must close by 12 a.m.
Cuomo’s move to allow indoor fitness classes to resume comes after the state told NY1 Tuesday that the decision to do so lies in the jurisdiction of the city.
When asked about the governor’s decision, Mayor de Blasio’s Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt told NY1, "New York City will help gyms and fitness centers hold classes as safely as possible, but if Governor Cuomo is going to continue overruling local control during the pandemic, he must show that he is being guided by the data and science, not politics."