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> COVID19 2021-05-12 Reopening Set to Expand on May 19: Related County Updates

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

For media inquiries:
Dominick Recckio,
Samantha Hillson,, 607-274-6714

New York State Reopening Set to Expand on May 19, County Updates Related to Reopening

(Ithaca, N.Y., May 12, 2021) – The Tompkins County Health Department is alerting the community to the easing of pandemic-related restrictions in New York State and the ongoing local efforts related to enforcing State guidance. Tompkins County continues to be a leader in New York State for both high vaccination rates and low infection rates, TCHD continues to urge the community to closely follow public health guidance related to the easing of restrictions and to get vaccinated when you are able.

New York State has announced that effective May 19, most business capacity restrictions will be based solely on 6 feet social distancing requirements.   Percentage-based capacity restrictions will be removed for most commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops,  other personal care services, and houses of worship, among other settings. 

Additionally, the following will go into effect on the stated dates:

  • The outdoor social gathering limit increased from 200 to 500 people on May 10.
  • The indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people on May 19.
  • The outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people is removed as of May 19.
  • The indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people on May 19.
  • Large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30% capacity starting May 19.
  • The 12 a.m. food and beverage curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.
  • The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted May 17, with the curfew for all catered events to be lifted May 31.
  • Large-scale outdoor event venues, including professional and collegiate sports and live performing arts & entertainment, ​will only be limited by space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain required social distance, and fully vaccinated attendees may be seated at full capacity in assigned sections designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals, beginning May 19.
  • Gyms and fitness centers outside of NYC can increase capacity to 50% beginning May 15.
  • Casinos and gaming facilities can increase capacity to 50% beginning May 15.
  • Offices can increase capacity to 75% beginning May 15.

For more information, visit the Health Department’s Environmental Health Services page. The Health Department must be notified about any event over the social gathering limit. Notifications can be made online here.   

As these easements go into place, Tompkins County is adjusting its response to public health- related complaints. The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office will reduce it’s public health complaint response. Tompkins County is discouraging the public from calling 9-1-1 related to gatherings unless there is violent or illegal activity. 9-1-1 should only be used in emergency situations. County officials continue to coordinate with Cornell and Ithaca College related to end of semester gatherings and activities.   

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “The COVID-19 disease prevalence continues to decrease both locally and across New York State – it’s important that we continue to be cautious while aspects of our lives and communities return to what was the pre-pandemic normal.” Kruppa continued, “The reason we’re able to confidently ease these restrictions is because our vaccination rates are going up. Vaccines are proving to be an effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 and  stop people from getting sick.”

Kruppa added, “As the disease decreases and communities continue to reopen we all must be aware of the additional negative outcomes that have persisted during the pandemic. The mental health and wellbeing of many of our neighbors have been impacted by loss of a job, housing and food insecurity, social pressures, and uncertainty – the list is too long to say here.” Kruppa continued, “It is so important to get our young people vaccinated so that we can fully reopen schools and stem the negative impacts on children. Being back in school will make a big difference in the lives of families in our community.”

For local updates and information, check the TCHD website

The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.