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Ski areas can open at 50% capacity, governor says

A skier does a trick at Whiteface Mountain in December 2018. (Provided photo — ORDA)

NEW YORK (AP) — Ski resorts in New York will be allowed to open next month at half their indoor capacity with restrictions on sharing gondolas and face coverings required off the slopes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

The governor said ski resorts can open Nov. 6 during a briefing in which he outlined draft plans for the “massive undertaking” of administering vaccinations for millions of New Yorkers.

Ski resorts can open under a series of restrictions consistent with rules for other entertainment venues. Masks will be required at all times except when eating, drinking or skiing. Gondolas and lifts will be restricted to members of the same party and shared or rented equipment must be disinfected between uses.

“You have to socially distance when you ski,” Cuomo said Sunday at a briefing.

Also, capacity on the mountain must be reduced by 25% during “peak” days or if multiple trails are closed due to unseasonable conditions. Ski lessons will be limited to 10 or fewer people, he said.

New York reported 1,390 new positive cases and seven deaths. There were 913 people hospitalized with the virus.

With potential vaccines now being tested, Cuomo said the state plans to prioritize vaccines for essential health care workers and high-risk populations, especially those in areas with a high prevalence of COVID-19. Other essential workers and lower-risk populations would be prioritized before the general population, according to the governor.

“This is a massive undertaking,” he said. “This is a larger operational undertaking, I would argue, than anything we have done during COVID to date.”

But Cuomo said the state needs answers from the federal government on vaccine allocation, logistics, funding and even how to store millions of doses at super-cold temperatures. He said the National Governors Association, which he chairs, sent a list of vaccine-related questions Sunday to the Trump administration.

Also this weekend, New York City officials said they shut down an illegal party of more than 200 people who were violating pandemic restrictions at a catering hall.

Revelers at the Queens Luxe Banquet Hall early Saturday morning were not social distancing or wearing proper face coverings, according to the New York City Sheriff’s Office.

The owner and an employee of the venue in Queens were issued summonses for violation of emergency orders, unlicensed sale of alcohol and unlicensed warehousing of alcohol. Two other staffers were issued summonses for violation of emergency orders, the sheriff’s office said.

A call to the hall seeking comment was made Sunday.

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