May 23 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an order allowing people to gather in groups of 10 people or fewer, loosening some social distancing protocols ahead of the holiday weekend.
The executive order, signed Friday, allows gatherings of up to 10 people "for any lawful purpose or reason" anywhere in the state.
Earlier in the week, Cuomo said such groups could gather only for Memorial Day or religious observances, but the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit calling for any gatherings of 10 or fewer people to be allowed, The New York Times reported.
New York City Councilman condemned the revised order.
"This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings -- especially those held indoors," he tweeted.
"We need the public to continue to be smart and use judgement about the risks of this virus, regardless of what the court has forced on us."
The loosening of restrictions comes as New York's case rate slows. The state has 362,000 confirmed cases as of Saturday and more than 28,000 deaths.
Cuomo said Saturday there were 84 new deaths in the past 24 hours and a reduction in the number of hospitalizations.
"The change in hospitalizations is down. The intubations is down. The number of new COVID cases walking in the door, which is a very important number, that's down. And the number of lives lost is down to 84," Cuomo said.
"Eighty four is still a tragedy, no doubt, but the fact that it's down as low as it is, is really, overall good news."
He said more areas of New York are closer to reopening as cases ease.
Across the country, there have been 1.6 million cases with nearly 96,000 deaths.
Of those, there are now at least 4,500 confirmed cases in the Navajo Nation, with 149 deaths reported as of Friday. The area, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, reported 95 cases in a 24-hour period Friday.
The Navajo Nation entered a second 57-hour weekend lockdown Friday, during which all residents are required to stay home except in emergencies.