Groups of 10 people can now gather anywhere in New York for any reason.
In an unexpected executive order issued Friday night, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York slightly loosened coronavirus restrictions, saying that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed “for any lawful purpose or reason” anywhere in the state — including New York City — provided that social-distance protocols were followed.
Cuomo issued the order after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit that objected to Mr. Cuomo’s order on Thursday allowing groups of 10 people or less to gather for religious services or for Memorial Day celebrations. Mr. Cuomo’s order on Friday night modified the previous order.
The revision was swiftly condemned by Councilman Mark D. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan and is chairman of the City Council’s health committee. He stressed that the order had not been made by health professionals.
“This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings — especially those held indoors,” he said in tweets posted about 8:45 p.m.
“No one should interpret this as advice to change their behavior,” he added.
In filing its lawsuit, the civil liberties union argued that Mr. Cuomo’s order allowing religious and Memorial Day events was unlawful because state rules still banned protests and other activities protected by the First Amendment.
“We’re glad to see the governor reverse course,” Christopher Dunn, the civil liberty group’s legal director, said in a statement late Friday.
Mr. Cuomo’s office did not immediately provide a rationale for the change or say what had prompted it.
Under the new orders, groups of up to 10 people may gather in any region of the state, even those that have not been cleared to enter the first phase of reopening.
Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that the state would allow outdoor crowds of up to 25 people and let campgrounds reopen.
“I’m proud we are able to take this step today and add a little more hope and optimism to the start of summer,” Mr. Murphy said.
Social distancing would still be required at outdoor get-togethers, which had been limited to 10 people, and at campgrounds. Face coverings are not required outside, but state officials recommend them.
“If you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout, you may do so,” Mr. Murphy said.
Outdoor dining at restaurants remains forbidden in New Jersey, though Connecticut began allowing it on Wednesday; indoor events are still limited to 10 people, Mr. Murphy said.
New Jersey also reported 146 new virus-related deaths, bringing the state’s total to 10,985.
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Reporting was contributed by Maria Cramer, Michael Gold, Luis Ferré Sadurní and Matt Stevens.