Live music and performance venues reopening at one-third capacity

Legislative Gazette photo by James Gormley

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest plan to reopen the state comes with the opening of live performance and art venues at 33 percent capacity.

Music and performance venues can now host either 100 people indoors, or 200 people outdoors, under the new rules.

For those venues that will require people to have either a negative test or the new Excelsior Pass, the capacity is increased to 150 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

“New York’s beloved arts and entertainment venues have been hard hit by the public health guidance we’ve implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, and after a long and difficult period, I am glad to see them reopen their doors to New Yorkers,” Cuomo said on Friday.

“Attendees will need to follow strict guidance to keep themselves and others safe, but they’ll now be able to watch world-class performances and take part in our state’s thriving arts and culture scene once again. I encourage New Yorkers to get tested before attending events and to use Excelsior Pass to show venues that they’ve been vaccinated or tested before entering performance spaces.”

The announcement of the new capacity rules for entertainment venues coincides with the unveiling of a vaccine passport called the Excelsior Pass, an app that shows that someone has been fully vaccinated.

Excelsior Pass is a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines, according to the Governor’s Office.

Users of this pass can either print it out or have it readily available on their smartphone.

Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, and the Times Union Center in Albany, were the first to announce they will accept the Excelsior Pass for entry.

State guidance issued on April 1 mandates that patrons do not gather inside or outside the venue following an event, but rather, leave immediately when the performance has ended.

“Responsible parties should discourage patrons from congregating outside the venue immediately before or after the performance or event, to the extent practicable, and should implement a security plan to disperse individuals who gather in the immediate vicinity outside of the venue and violate social distancing requirements,” the state Health Department guidance states.