(WIVB) – Houses of worship can open at 25 percent capacity starting immediately for New York State regions in Phase Two of reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his Saturday morning press conference.
Those attending services should still take precautions to follow social distancing, Gov. Cuomo added. The governor said it will be up to churches, temples, and mosques to put protocols in place.
The reopening of houses of worship originally fell in Phase Four of the state’s four stage reopening plan.
Last month, the governor announced that they could have small religious services with fewer than ten people and conduct drive through or parking lot services.
Cuomo credited “very good” metrics for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for the acceleration of opening.
The total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state was down yesterday to 2,603, from a record-high of 18,825 during the peak of the pandemic. On Friday, 35 people in New York passed away due to COVID-19, down from a record-high of 800 just eight weeks ago.
Gov. Cuomo also announced that he will issue an executive order to allow commercial buildings to take the temperature of anyone entering the building as workers start returning to their workplaces.
According to the state’s numbers, Erie County has a total of 6,429 cases of COVID-19 and 70 new cases from Friday.