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New York will loosen some virus restrictions on gatherings

March 3, 2021 Associated Press

New York will loosen restrictions on gatherings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday at his first news conference since an investigation was announced into sexual harassment allegations against him by three women.

The Democratic governor said that that limit for outdoor private gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 starting March 22. The limit for indoor gatherings in public spaces will go from 50 to 100 and the limit for outdoor public events will go from 50 to 200 on the same date, he said.

In addition to the phased reopening, Cuomo said New York state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Three state-run vaccination sites, including one at Yankee Stadium, will temporarily shift to 24-hour operations in order to schedule appointments for the new vaccine, he said.

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“I know there’s a pent-up demand,” Cuomo said. “I believe people will show up in the middle of the night to get the vaccine.”

The virtual briefing was the first time the governor had spoken to reporters since a Feb. 22 teleconference. Two days later, former aide Lindsey Boylan published a Medium post accusing Cuomo of kissing her without consent and suggesting a game of strip poker. Two additional women, one who also worked in the Cuomo administration, have since forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Cuomo said he would “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into the allegations. Facing calls for his resignation from some fellow Democrats, the third-term governor said Wednesday he had “learned an important lesson” about his own behavior toward women but he intended to remain in office.

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