When Phase 3 of recovery begins, gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed

New York will allow gatherings of up to 25 people — an increase from the current guidelines of 10 — for regions in Phase 3 of the NY Forward reopening plan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The change was based off the latest data continuing to show a declining spread of the virus since the reopening began. Hospitalizations continue to decline and the daily COVID-19 test results are hovering around 1%. At least seven regions will be in Phase 3 this week. Long Island is scheduled to begin Phase 3 next week.

“The rules and regulations of Phase 3 are very clear, they’re all set out,” Mr. Cuomo said Monday.

Restaurants, which can currently serve outdoor dining, can expand to indoor dining at 50% capacity under Phase 3. Personal care services can also reopen under Phase 3 at 50% capacity. Employees providing services must be tested every 14 days while the region is in Phase 3. Additional information on Phase 3 guidelines can be found here.

New York has now reached the lowest level of hospitalizations since March 20. The number of fatalities linked to COVID-19 on a three-day average is also the lowest since since March 21 across the state. There were 25 statewide fatalities on Sunday and seven of those were in Suffolk County.

“We’d love to see that number at zero, but really, you’ll never get to zero,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Because now the number is so low it’s coming down to what a doctor certifies that cause of death. People who pass away from COVID have other underlying illnesses.”

Mr. Cuomo pointed to how many states throughout the country are reporting increases in COVID-19 cases and said New York is “the exception.”

“We don’t want the same plight as these other states,” he said. “Talk about a great irony. One of our concerns now in New York is that people from the other states that have a high rate of increase of COVID virus may start traveling to New York. Remember when we started, other states were saying we don’t want people from New York coming to our state.”

There were 33 positive COVID-19 cases in Suffolk over the last 24 hours. There were more than 4,000 tests done, so the percent of positive cases was under 1%.