Dear Business, Community and Neighborhood Partners,

We all are living and working through rapidly changing developments associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By taking firm and unified action on what is in our control, I believe we can move through this difficult period more safely and, hopefully, more quickly.

On Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced limits on public events and gatherings in New York State. The guidelines require the cancelation or postponement of all gatherings of 500 people or more.  I have been pleased to see the sponsors of such events in our community taking steps quickly to comply with this guidance. 

Effective at 5 p.m. today, Friday, Mar. 13, new requirements go in to effect for gatherings with less than 500 individuals:

Public health experts agree mass gatherings with people making sustained close contact are a place where the coronavirus can easily infect many people quickly and continue its spread. As such, events, gatherings, or places of business with less than 500 individuals in attendance will be required to cut capacity by 50 percent, with exceptions being made for spaces where individuals do not make sustained close contact, such as schools, hospitals, public buildings, mass transit, grocery stores, and retail stores.

Attached is interim guidance from New York State with more information about safely conducting an event. On behalf of our entire community – and in the interest of taking care of each other – I am urging all businesses, non-profits, community organizations and institutions that conduct events and meetings that fall under these criteria to abide by these limits.  This includes entertainment venues, places of worship, as well as restaurants and bars. 

The City of Syracuse is prepared to enforce these limits if necessary, but I do not believe we are the type of community that will need such action.  These measures are temporary, and, when followed, will help protect our healthcare system and enable our community to more effectively manage the coronavirus (COVID-19).

I recognize these requirements create significant disruption and hardships. I thank you for your cooperation and commitment to coming together as a community in this challenging time.

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