New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning authorized meetings for up to ten people starting this weekend, as part of the gradual lifting of restrictions adopted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo said the meetings can be held “for any legal reason or reason,” thus amending an earlier order that only allowed meetings for religious reasons and that generated legal claims in court.

The order applies to the entire state, including in the three of its ten regions that are still feeling strongly the impact of the pandemic and have not yet started a reopening.

The state has been the great epicenter in the United States, with 358,154 confirmed infections and 28,853 deaths -more than 21,000 in New York City-, a figure similar to that of the whole of Spain and only below countries such as Italy and the United Kingdom .

“This decision has not been made by health professionals, it has been forced by a lawsuit,” complained the chairman of the New York City Council Health Commission, Councilman Mark Levine in a message urging citizens to maintain for some time more the new habits of security and hygiene.

The New Jersey state, next to New York, has also authorized the meetings starting this weekend, which marks the start of the summer season in the country, the EFE news agency reported.

“I am proud to be able to take this step today and add a little more hope and optimism at the beginning of the summer,” said Governor Phil Murphy, after authorizing meetings of up to 25 people.

New Jersey is the second state hardest hit by the pandemic, with 152,579 confirmed cases and 10,985 deaths.

Overall, there are more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 96,000 deaths in the United States, according to an independent count by Johns Hopkins University.