New York hits 70% vaccination rate, Cuomo lifts all Covid restrictions

June 15, 2021

Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that when New York hit a 70-percent vaccination rate among those 18+, he would lift reopening guidance across commercial and social settings. And as of today, the state has hit that milestone. In a celebratory press conference from the World Trade Center, the governor said, “We can now return to life as we know it.” To mark the occasion, there will be 10 fireworks displays across the state tonight, including one in New York Harbor.

The lifted restrictions include those on capacity, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screenings, and contact tracing information. These are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, personal care services, real estate, child care, movie theaters, and other commercial settings.

However, consistent with CDC guidelines, masks are still required on public transportation, at pre-K through grade-12 schools, in nursing homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, schools, and health care facilities. Other institutional restrictions may also continue at these locations, as well as at large-scale event venues. In addition, unvaccinated and immunocompromised people are still responsible for wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

Map of tonight’s firework displays, via Governor Cuomo’s 6.15.21 press presentation

Tonight’s fireworks displays will take place throughout the state to mark this momentous occasion. In addition, 13 state landmarks will be lit blue and gold, including the Empire State Building, One World Trade Central, and Grand Central.

In a similar celebratory move, just yesterday Mayor de Blasio announced that the city would hold a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes to honor health care workers, first responders, and essential workers. The Hometown Heroes Parade will take place on Wednesday, July 7.

And the celebrations are just. At the peak of the pandemic last spring, New York had the highest Covid positivity rate in the world–48.6 percent. It was “like a science fiction movie,” the governor said. But today, the state has the lowest positivity rate in the country–0.40 percent.

“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,” Governor 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.”


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