Gov. Cuomo announced on Tuesday, that most Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in the Empire State effectively immediately because at least 70 percent of adult New Yorkers have completed their first vaccine series, but for some it will feel like a tale of two cities.
Masks are still required for unvaccinated people, preschool to high school students, people traveling via public transit, and those in homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and healthcare settings, and anyone who intends to attend large-scale indoor event venues, according to the state.
“What New York has done is extraordinary,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 percent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation. We led with nurse Sandra Lindsay, who was the first at Northwell to take that vaccine and to assure people it was safe. We’ve gone on to do more than 20 million vaccines, more per capita than any big state in the United States of America.”
Social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, health screenings, contact information tracing, and New York Forward’s cleaning and disinfection guidelines are now optional for retail, food service, gym and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment venues, hair salons, barbershops, personal care service businesses and other commercial settings.
White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said, “In communities across New York, the deadly coronavirus is in retreat thanks to the state’s progress on vaccinations. New York went from being one of the hardest-hit states in the country to being one of the leading states in its effort to combat the virus because of a vaccination program that made it easy and convenient for New Yorkers to get vaccinated, state and community leaders who worked hard at the local level, and millions of New Yorkers who rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.”
Those over the age of 4 who are not vaccinated or have an unknown status must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test and wear a mask within an indoor venue. However, event spaces can reach 100 percent capacity and eliminate or reduce social distancing between tested attendees.
The choice is up to business owners as to whether they want to lift all or some of the previous restrictions regardless of a patron’s vaccination status, according to the Governor’s Office. All of the past state guidelines were archived for entrepreneurs and the public to access.
“Congratulations to New Yorkers because they are the ones who did it,” said Cuomo. “We’re no longer just surviving — we’re thriving. The state mandates that have proven right and brought us through this pandemic are relaxed as of today.”