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Many COVID-19 restrictions officially end on LI

Many COVID-19 restrictions officially end on LI 1

A new reality: Many COVID-19 restrictions officially end on LI, statewide

Under the new guidance that took effect Wednesday, it’s largely up to businesses to decide how many restrictions to maintain.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had announced on Monday that the state would adopt federal recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including those saying vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors. Although certain loosened regulations are supposed to apply only to those who are vaccinated, adherence is largely based on the honor system.

Mark Smith, who owns five restaurants on the East End, said “employees and customers who are vaccinated [and] want to unmask, can. If people don’t want to unmask, we respect that too.” The biggest challenge is confirming who is vaccinated, Smith said.

“We are going to trust our customers, and if they’re lying, they’re putting your own health at risk,” Smith said.

So far, businesses around Long Island have differing rules. Read more about how it’s going.

Plus: Here’s a breakdown of the capacity changes that took effect today.

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The number of new positives reported today: 74 in Nassau, 79 in Suffolk, 472 in New York City and 1,431 statewide.

This map shows the concentration of cases in communities around Long Island.

Search that map, and view charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Cuomo: New COVID-19 guidelines for camps, child care facilities

Child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps must implement capacity limits and enforce mask-wearing mandates for unvaccinated children and staff, under new guidelines announced Wednesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Staff who aren’t fully vaccinated must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other unvaccinated staff, he said. The sites must also determine and enforce a capacity limit that ensures “appropriate” social distancing. Children and campers over the age of 2 and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, showering, swimming or sleeping/resting.

Long Island camp officials on Wednesday said they were still digesting the 23-page document from the state.

LI nurses comfort patients, families during COVID with keepsakes

To keep ICU patients and their family members connected during COVID-19 visitation restrictions, nurses at South Shore University Hospital started collecting handmade, crocheted hearts from Long Islanders in November.

The staff gave matching hearts to family members and patients. Despite not being able to see each other in person, the hearts would remind the family of their loved one, and remind the patient they’re loved.

“Our focus isn’t just COVID patients,” said Andrea Freudenberg, assistant nurse manager of the ICU at South Shore. “It’s the whole population. We felt we could give them that connection.” Read more from this story by Newsday’s Rachel Weiss.

This LI frosting company uses Zoom to save your cakes

A 75-year-old Long Island frosting company is now using telehealth-style visits to whip up faster diagnostics for commercial bakers who run into issues with icing.

In this story by Newsday’s Ken Schachter, executives at Hicksville-based Hanan Products Inc. explain the idea of using Zoom sessions for bakers with topping problems to help with efficiency.

“We’ve been trying to stay in front of things,” said chief financial officer Paul Hanan, who described the new program as in the “beta stage.”

More to know

As the economy begins to reopen, businesses are again starting to invest in equipment and other capital expenditures.

The Islanders will return to a loud and larger Nassau Coliseum crowd for Thursday’s Game 3, with the Coliseum having approximately 6,200 people, with 50% of the building devoted to vaccinated people socially distanced at three feet and the other half devoted to non-vaccinated people, six feet apart.

News for you

Your guide to the 2021 Bethpage Air Show. The show is coming up on Memorial Day weekend at Jones Beach in Wantagh. Performers will do practice runs over Jones Beach on May 28, and because of COVID-19 restrictions, parking is limited to 50 percent capacity — and advance parking passes are sold out. Check this guide for what you need to know before you go, and if you don’t have a ticket, you still have other options to see the show.

More concerts announced. Coming to Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater: Lady A has announced a concert for July 30. The band was originally scheduled to play in August 2020, but canceled because of the pandemic. And, the Jonas Brothers will take that stage on Oct. 2. Tickets for both shows go on sale later this month.

A new ghost kitchen on LI. Jeera in Garden City is tucked behind Akbar, the longtime Indian restaurant on the outskirts of the Roosevelt Field mall. It’s a kitchen-within-a-kitchen that serves bowls, wraps, and Indian-inspired snacks. Find out more.

Go on a window shopping scavenger hunt. Just during next weekend, families can visit about 30 businesses in Huntington Village in search of items displayed in storefront windows during a free event that’s outdoors and socially distanced. The goal is to draw attention to downtown merchants and encourage children to read.

Plus: No vacation plans? Make your home feel like a hotel with these 5 tips for re-organizing parts of your space.

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What happens when vaccine incentives aren’t enough? Clara Ferreira Marques, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, writes: When much of the world is still desperate for COVID-19 vaccinations, a handful of wealthy places are beginning to have the opposite problem. Hong Kong is one. Despite a free and easily accessible program open to all adults since April, only just over 10% of the population of 7.5 million has had both injections, with low rates even among the oldest. Hesitancy is so high that only half of residents say they intend to get vaccinated.

The combination of political upheaval, distrust in government and success in keeping caseloads low makes Hong Kong an unusual, even extreme, example of reluctance, as seen in studies of attitudes to other control measures, compared to Singapore and Malaysia. But the territory is far from alone as the rich world shifts from shortages to indifference, well before enough people have been inoculated to allow a safe reopening.

The question arises of how governments push populations if — or probably when — hints, cash, free burgers and even the prospect of international travel prove insufficient to reach herd immunity, the vaccination rate of roughly 70% or more that’s necessary to protect everyone. Keep reading.

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