New Yorkers can expect almost all Covid restrictions to be lifted very soon. The state’s vaccination rate as of today is 68.6 percent; when it hits 70 percent, reopening guidance will be lifted across commercial and social settings. This includes capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screenings, and contact tracing information. Consistent with the CDC, current mask requirements will remain in place.
As of today, the overall statewide positivity rate is 0.66 percent, the tenth straight day of record-low positivity. In New York City, the rate is 0.43 percent. And for the first time since August 19, all regions in the state are below 1.0 percent positivity.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining Covid restrictions,” said Governor Cuomo after sharing the positive data,”[to] get to a point where Covid is not inhibiting our society, not inhibiting our growth.”
To do this, the governor will lift the aforementioned restrictions when 70 percent of New York residents aged 18+ have received at least one vaccination dose. These restrictions will become optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, personal care services, and other commercial settings.
As of May 19, New York lifted its mask mandate in accordance with the CDC. Following these guidelines, masks are still required on public transportation, 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. As of now, when school resumes in the fall, masks will be required, but commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker addressed a letter to the head of the CDC requesting a change in mask policy for schools. Unvaccinated and immunocompromised people are still responsible for wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Slide from Governor Cuomo’s 6.7.21 press presentation
In order to reach the 70 percent vaccination threshold, the state will focus on the ZIP codes with the lowest vaccination rates. There are a total of 1,755 ZIP codes in New York, but the bottom 10 percent are below the 36.3 percent vaccination rate. The state will establish vaccine sites in these areas and is encouraging local governments to redeploy assets to these areas.
“With numbers trending at record lows, it is clear that the vaccine is effective and that it is an invaluable tool against the virus. While we have come so far it is still imperative that those who have not received the vaccine do so, so that they may enjoy the state’s reimagined reopening to the fullest extent possible,” said Governor Cuomo.
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