New York Lifts Almost All Covid-19 Restrictions

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Pam Robinson

New York State lifted nearly all Covid-19 restrictions Tuesday on commercial and social life, effective immediately, as the state’s adult vaccination rate hit 70 percent.

“It means that we can now return to life as we know it,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

The lifting of the restrictions means that customers won’t have to avoid crowded theaters or sit six feet apart from others in restaurants, face temperature checks or be asked about contacts when they go to barber shops or hair salons.

“This is a momentous day and we deserve it because it has been a long, long road,” Cuomo said at the World Trade Center.

Masks haven’t gone away completely; Businesses that want to continue the mask mandate will be allowed to if their patrons feel unsafe without them.

Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Consistent with the state’s implementation of the recent CDC guidance, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals. Further, the State’s health guidelines continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.

And spokeswoman for Northwell Health said it would continue to require masks at all its properties.

And the decision to lift restrictions came on the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned about the surge of the COVID-19 variant, Delta, which has spread throughout Britain and elsewhere.

“Today the CDC announces the Delta variant as a variant of concern,” a White House spokesman tweeted. “The stakes are high for those who are unvaccinated but the vaccines work.”

The governor also said that landmarks across the state will be lit blue and gold on Tuesday evening to celebrate reaching 70 percent of New York adults receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to these lightings, firework displays will be held at 10 sites across the state beginning at 9:15pm.

“472 days ago, it was impossible to fathom that 70 percent of New York’s adults would have received their first COVID vaccination by this point. What felt years away has been accomplished in less than one,”  Cuomo said. “As we celebrate lifting restrictions and resuming our reimagined normal, we also reflect on the hard work of New York State’s essential workers and we remember those we lost. New Yorkers have always been tough, but this last year has proven just how tough they are. Congratulations, New Yorkers, on all that your hard work has accomplished.”

The following landmarks will be lit in blue and gold:

  • Empire State Building
  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate and Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station

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