New York’s Museums, Bowling Alleys Set to Reopen Soon

Gyms may be next
August 14, 2020 Updated: August 16, 2020

New York’s museums and bowling alleys will soon be allowed to reopen, while protocols for reopening gyms will be announced on Aug. 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Aug. 14.

Museums, bowling alleys, and gyms were among indoor venues that were deemed nonessential and ordered to close in late March as part of efforts to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. And while all areas of New York state have entered the least restrictive phase of the state’s reopening plan, phase 4, those venues were held back from reopening until now.

New York State has recorded more than 25,200 CCP virus deaths. Cuomo told reporters at a news conference on Aug. 14 that less than 1 percent of tests in the state came back positive in the past week, despite a large number of tests.

“Given the results that we have and the progress that we’ve made, we’re going to make some more changes and adjustments,” Cuomo said.

Bowling alleys throughout the state can reopen at 50 percent capacity starting on Aug. 17, while observing strict safety protocols such as mandatory face coverings and social distancing, Cuomo said.

Other protocols include having every other lane closed, with visitors allowed to stay only at their assigned lane, and cleaning and disinfection of shared equipment between each use. Food and drinks won’t be allowed at bowling alleys in New York City, which still currently forbids indoor dining, unlike the rest of the state, where restaurants are allowed to take in guests at a reduced capacity.

New York City’s museums, aquariums, and other low-risk indoor cultural arts centers can reopen starting Aug. 24, at a 25 percent capacity. These venues must enforce safety protocols such as having timed ticketing, with pre-set, staggered entry, and controlled traffic flow to avoid crowding, alongside mandating masks, social distancing, and having cleaning and disinfection protocols.

“New York City’s world-class cultural institutions have long provided comfort and creativity for generations of people in one of the world’s most vibrant places, and when the COVID-19 pandemic began to threaten the city and this nation, it was especially heartbreaking to see them close their doors,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“This pandemic is far from over, but we’ve determined that institutions can reopen if they adhere to strict state guidance and take every precaution to keep visitors safe. I look forward to seeing them inspire New Yorkers once again.”

New York state will release protocols for the reopening of gyms and fitness centers on Aug. 17. That comes after 1,500 gym owners filed a class-action lawsuit against the state, calling for the facilities to be reopened immediately, and requesting compensation for lost revenue over the past months of closure. Other lawsuits have been filed challenging the closure of gyms in the state.

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