State updates guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies
Events can exceed 100 indoors and 200 outdoors depending on size of venues
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new updated guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges and universities.
Effective May 1, indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies will be allowed with limited attendee capacity, depending on the event size and the location (e.g., stadium, arena, arts and entertainment venue).
All event organizers and venues hosting ceremonies must follow the state’s strict health and safety protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information. Detailed guidance for graduation events is available by clicking here.
“We’re once again approaching the end of the academic year which means we need strict rules in place to ensure commencement ceremonies are done safely in the context of the ongoing pandemic,” Cuomo said. “With more people getting vaccinated every day, we are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel, but we all need to continue being vigilant and I am urging everyone to celebrate smart.”
For events that exceed the social gathering limits of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, event organizers and venues must notify the local health department and require attendees to show proof of a recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization prior to entry.
These requirements are consistent with the state’s guidance for other congregate commercial and social activities, including catered receptions, performing arts, and sports competitions.
- Large-scale ceremonies of over 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more.
- Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
- Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or 2 attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.
- Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more.
- Medium-scale ceremonies of 101-150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
- Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or 2 attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.
This announcement builds on the Governor’s recent measures to further re-open the economy amid a steady decline in New York’s Covid-19 positivity and hospitalization rates.
Governor Cuomo announced that professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity and smaller, regional sports venues that hold 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 people outdoors can also reopen, with an initial capacity limited to 10 percent indoors and 20 percent outdoors, beginning April 1.
The Governor also announced, event, arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoor, beginning April 2nd. Additionally, on March 15th, Governor Cuomo announced wedding receptions and catered events could expand to larger scale events subject to following the Department of Health guidance.