NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York State lifted most remaining COVID-19 restrictions as the state officially reached a 70% vaccination rate Tuesday.
Gov. Cuomo made the announcement in New York City Tuesday, saying capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning protocols, health screening, social gathering limits and contact tracing requirements are all lifted in social and commercial settings.
This includes sports activities, child care, restaurants and food services, offices, amusement parks, gyms, personal care services and retail.
Mask requirements will remain in place according to CDC guidelines, which state unvaccinated people must still wear masks in public places.
Cuomo also said in accordance with the CDC, masks will still be required in schools, on public transit and in health care settings.
Today New York State reached our goal of 70% adult vaccination.
That means we can return to life as we know it.
Effective immediately, state-mandated COVID restrictions are lifted across commercial and social settings. pic.twitter.com/sMdqkSJ6h5
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 15, 2021
Local leaders responded to Cuomo's announcement Tuesday, saying while this milestone is a victory, there's more progress to be made.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said:
"It’s clear we have made tremendous progress together battling COVID-19 in this past year. However, today’s announcement, much like every other made by the Governor during the course of this pandemic, was made with no communication, coordination or consultation.
While the crisis is over, the public health emergency is not. Oneida County will continue to prioritize vaccinating its residents as we work toward reaching a rate of 70 percent and beyond."
State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, said, in part:
“While it is important to recognize significant milestones in our battle against COVID-19, the governor’s announcement today gives the impression that the pandemic is eradicated. Our fight against this virus has not ended, as is evidenced by the fact that people are still being encouraged by a variety of incentives to get the vaccine, certain health and safety protocols remain in place and community events, including upcoming Independence Day celebrations, have been canceled throughout the state.
Yes, we can celebrate this achievement and recognize the state’s essential workers. However, New Yorkers and their families, despite an increasing vaccination rate and decreasing rate of infection, continue to struggle to make ends meet. Restaurants, bars, small businesses, landlords and many others still face immense financial difficulties and uncertain futures. Our priority and focus must remain on helping the people of New York who continue to face significant challenges and not on potentially premature pronouncements from the governor and fireworks, whether publically or privately funded.
It is time for the Governor, as I have requested, to lift the state disaster emergency declaration that rests sole power and authority with him and to restore the Legislature as a co-equal branch of state government. I urge the Legislature to convene an extraordinary session if the Governor refuses to do so.”