Ahead of Memorial Day, New York Allows Public Gatherings of 10 People

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Going into Memorial Day weekend, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has allowed groups of 10 people to gather anywhere in the state.

In an executive order issued on Friday night, Cuomo loosened the state’s coronavirus restrictions, saying 10-person gatherings can happen “for any lawful purpose or reason” as long as social distancing rules are still being followed.

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The new ruling comes after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against Cuomo’s previous order on Thursday that only allowed 10-person gatherings for religious services and Memorial Day events.

However, the less restrictive guidelines were criticized by some people, including Mark D. Levine, Upper Manhattan councilman and chairman of the City Council’s health committee.

“This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings — especially those held indoors,” Levine said on Twitter. “We need the public to continue to be smart and use judgement about the risks of this virus, regardless of what the court has forced on us.”

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“No one should interpret this as advice to change their behavior,” he added in another tweet.

Also in his Saturday briefing, Cuomo announced that New York recorded fewer than 100 coronavirus deaths for the first time since late March. The governor reported 84 new deaths from COVID-19, the lowest number in a single day since March 24.

Cuomo maintained that the number was still “a tragedy, no doubt,” but noted that the downward trend in fatalities was a good sign.

“The fact that it is down as low as it is, is really overall good news,” he said. “In my head, I was always looking to get under 100. It’s a sign of real progress.”

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