New York to limit gatherings, close bars, restaurants early

New York to limit gatherings, close bars, restaurants early
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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoZeldin says he's in remission after treatment for leukemia Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight MORE (D) is imposing new restrictions on private gatherings and closing restaurants early amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Beginning Friday, all private indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Bars and restaurants licensed by the state liquor authority will be required to close at 10 p.m. daily.

Gyms will also be required to close at 10 p.m., Cuomo announced.

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The moves bring New York in line with other states in the region, such as New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In a statement, Cuomo said the new limits are being implemented because of coronavirus spread from small indoor gatherings, including Halloween parties. 

After months of low infection numbers, cases in New York have been steadily increasing, matching a nationwide trend. 

On Wednesday, the state reported 1,628 hospitalizations, its highest total since mid-June. The number of people hospitalized in the state peaked in April, with several days where it exceeded 18,000. The seven-day average positivity rate on Tuesday was 2.4 percent, the highest it's been since May 31. 

Some states and cities have imposed new capacity restrictions on indoor dining, as studies and contact tracing have shown restaurants and bars to be places where the virus spreads easily. 

Restaurants in New York have been allowed to operate at 25 percent indoor capacity since September. The state was supposed to increase that to 50 percent on Nov. 1, but Cuomo's office has not yet made a decision.

"If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you'll see they're coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes," Cuomo said in a statement.