New York will allow sports and performing arts venues that seat more than 2,500 people outdoors to open at limited capacity starting on April 1, just in time for the Yankees’ first home game of the season, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday.
The state will also allow indoor venues that seat more than 1,500 people to open at 10 percent capacity.
The governor’s announcement, which he made with Yankees and Mets officials in attendance, is the latest in a slate of recent reopening steps he has taken, even as the virus remains persistent in the state.
“Spring is a new season,” Mr. Cuomo said on Thursday. “And it is a new attitude.”
All three measures are dramatically lower than they were last spring, when the first wave of virus cases swept into the state and devastated New York City in particular.
But according to a New York Times database, New York State is adding new virus cases at the second-highest rate in the country. As of Wednesday, the state was reporting an average of 36 new virus cases a day for every 100,000 residents over the last week, trailing only New Jersey, at 41 cases per 100,000. (The nation as a whole was averaging 17 new cases per 100,000 people.)
New York City, home to the state’s two Major League Baseball teams, is adding new cases at 44 cases per 100,000 — a per capita rate more than five times higher than that of Los Angeles County — though average hospitalizations have dropped by nearly half in the last month.
According to the city’s health data, the weekly average positive test rate has hovered near 6.5 percent for the last several days and has not dropped below 6 percent in more than three months. City officials have said new virus variants have likely kept the positivity rate from falling further, and on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said questions about the variants were a reason to delay the state’s reopening plans.
Though New York State’s number of virus-related hospitalizations remains lower than it was at the start of the year, when the state was experiencing a surge linked to holiday gatherings, it remains significantly higher than it was last summer, when the state had more stringent restrictions in place.
As of Wednesday, 4,582 people were hospitalized, down from a recent peak of 8,991 on Jan. 21, according to the state’s data. On Aug. 30, the state recorded just 418 hospitalizations.
Virus-related deaths have followed a similar trend. As of Wednesday, the state averaged 89 deaths a day over the past seven days, according to the Times database, compared to 198 on Jan. 20.
Mr. Cuomo pointed to the sustained decline over recent months as a cause for optimism.
“Covid’s coming down. Vaccine rates are going up,” Mr. Cuomo said Thursday. “Start to look to the future aggressively, and let’s get back to life and living. And get that economy running, because it is safe.”
He has also left the state’s mask mandate in place and has required businesses that reopen to meet significant capacity limits, safety requirements and social distancing protocol.
At sporting events, attendees will be required to provide a negative coronavirus test result or proof that they have been vaccinated, similar to requirements the state put in place for a Buffalo Bills playoff game in January, Mr. Cuomo said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its guidance for people in the United States who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which is two weeks after the second dose in the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It allows for the resumption of some activities in private settings between fully vaccinated people in small groups or a fully vaccinated household with one other unvaccinated household. It emphasized how fully vaccinated people should keep following health and safety precautions in public, including wearing a mask.