Memorial Day Weekend Checklist: What you need to know before getting together

What you need to know for the unoffic
Posted at 6:29 AM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 07:16:50-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s the unofficial start of the summer, time to bring out the grill and make plans to get together. But these days—gathering with friends and family comes with questions.

Things like—how many people can I have over? Do I have to wear my mask?

To answer those questions, here’s your 2021 Memorial Day Weekend Checklist with the latest New York State guidance for fully vaccinated people.

Indoor gatherings:

  • Residential: 50 person limit
  • Non-Residential: 250 person limit
  • Masks optional

Outdoor gatherings:

  • Residential and Non-residential: 500 person limit
  • Masks optional
  • Beaches and pools still operating with social distancing, 100% capacity expected by July 4
  • Outdoor events can be seated at full capacity (bring proof of vaccination)

If you’re unvaccinated, the state says you must be socially distanced continue to wear masks unless eating or drinking, outside or inside.

And if the vaccination status is unknown where you’re going, the department of health strongly recommends you defer to wearing your mask and keeping your distance.

And with these COVID-19 restrictions loosening right before the holiday, New York State Police are getting ready for a potential uptick in impaired drivers.

Stats from Memorial Day Weekend 2020:

  • 250 arrests for driving while impaired
  • 1,000 tickets for distracted driving
  • 6 car crash deaths

Info: State Police Troop A, which services the eight WNY counties

Police expect impaired driving numbers to go up this year with more people open to traveling and because of the new legalization of marijuana. Troopers urge you to celebrate the unofficial start of summer responsibly.

"There should always be a plan. It doesn't change the fact that marijuana is legal or alcohol is legal, the fact is, if you're going to use those things don't get behind the wheel don't try and drive somewhere and possibly take someone's life," said State Trooper James O'Callaghan.

Driving a Car
A woman holding the steering wheel of a car with one hand while driving.

Even if you don't see state police out there they'll be watching the roads. Troopers say they plan to use squad cars and unmarked vehicles to make sure no one is driving under the influence.

They say they'll also have road checks put in place and will have special underage drinking patrols to make sure everyone is safe.

And consequences are pricey. For a DWI, you will be arrested, face thousands of dollars in fines and could potentially lose your license.
And for distracted driving, it'll cost you $500 in fines, plus four points on your license.

But state police say the biggest consequence is that you're putting people's lives, including your own at risk.