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NYS relaxes more COVID restrictions

New York State will lift its curfew next month for casinos, movie theaters and some other establishments, but closing time will still be at 11 p.m. for bars and restaurants and 12 a.m. for catered events at least until mid-April.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the changes Wednesday, as he continued relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions.

"New York is moving forward with reopening our economy and looking forward to a post-COVID world," Cuomo said. "We know the vaccine is the weapon that defeats this invisible enemy and we are getting more shots in arms than ever before."

Indoor fitness classes also can resume statewide at 33% capacity on Monday. Health screening and contact information will be required at sign-in, while classes should disinfected between sessions. The announcement came hours after fitness studio owners rallied in New York City.

Also, the five "cluster" zones statewide won't have special restrictions anymore. Those clusters are in the East Bronx, West Bronx, Manhattan, Newburgh, New Windsor and Kew Gardens/Forest Hills in Queens.

The governor reported the state's positivity rate at 3.41%, compared to 1.99% in Western New York. Net hospitalizations are down 174, but nearly 600 people were newly admitted. A total of 54 New Yorkers died Tuesday statewide, bringing the total to 39,690.

There were 218 new cases of the virus in Erie County, 18 in Niagara and Cattaraugus counties, 16 in Chautauqua County, 6 in Wyoming County and 3 each in Allegany and Orleans counties.

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