NY museums, movie theaters, offices and other locations get increased capacities

Local News

NEW YORK — On Monday, New York saw quite a few increases in capacities of people allowed at a variety of venues, including museums, movie theaters, and zoos.  

The changes came as New York City public schools added 51,000 students to the 327,000 or so whose families had already chosen to send them in person.

However, those numbers only represent about 40 percent of all New York City public school students. A majority of families in the public school system have opted out of sending their children back in person.  

All of the changes combined offer a glimpse of what the city might look like later this year, as vaccinations continue to increase and cases, hopefully, decline.  

As of Monday, movie theaters in New York City can be at 33% capacity.  Museums, zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens can be at 50% capacity.

Also on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that, beginning May 15, offices can go from 50% to 75% capacity.  Casinos and gaming facilities are permitted to double their occupancy,  from 25% to 50%.  Gyms in New York State, outside of the five boroughs of New York City, can increase from 33% to 50% capacity.

Also, starting on May 19, spectator capacity at outdoor venues can increase from 20% to 33%, Cuomo said.

As for schools, Monday’s expansion of in-person attendance is part of a process of growing the student presence.

David Bloomfield, a professor of educational leadership, law and policy at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, said that increasing the in-person population at schools now is a helpful, important step for the school system to try and normalize for the beginning of next school year.

“It’s kind of chaotic,” Bloomfield said in an interview. “It’s good chaos in the sense that we’re now able to open up the schools to live instruction.  But it’s not going to be any kind of normalcy until maybe fall.”  

Also on Monday, registration began for a city program called Summer Rising.  It runs through July and August, and is intended to provide children with cultural and educational experiences that they may have missed out on during the worst of the pandemic.  

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