New York will allow houses of worship to reopen with restrictions as Covid-19 cases decrease

A person prays inside of St. Michael's Church on May 26, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

(CNN)Houses of worship in certain parts of New York will be allowed to reopen with restrictions Sunday as Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations decrease, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced.

Places of worship can reopen with 25% occupancy as part of phase two of the reopening plan, according to a press release from the governor's office.
"We now have the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus since this pandemic began." the governor said in the press release. "But people still have to stay smart and follow all the necessary precautions and guidelines because if the metrics start to change, the reopening will have to be slowed down."
      Temples, mosques, churches and other houses of worship across the country have been reopening over the past few weeks after coronavirus restrictions resulted in the banning of in person services in some states.
        The governor noted how far New York had come on Friday from its tragically high daily death count. There were 35 deaths and 2,603 hospitalizations that day, down from a record-high of 800 deaths and more than 18,800 hospitalizations during the peak of the pandemic.
          "The people of the state radically changed how they behaved, and look at that progress: lowest number of hospitalizations to date in a matter of weeks," Cuomo said. "Today's achievement is proof we know we can change, and we know we can change dramatically when we work together."
          Places of worship in seven regions within New York have already entered the second phase and reopen today. Those regions are the Capital Region, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North County, the Southern Tier and Western New York, according to the release.
          Social distancing protocols will need to be in place for those that resume indoor services.
            New York has reported more than 377,000 cases and more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
            CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect number of coronavirus deaths for the state of New York.