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Wednesday, 16 June 2021 16:58

Many of NY’s Pandemic Restrictions Lifted as State Hits 70% Vaccination Rate

Written by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference June 15 as he announces most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference June 15 as he announces most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted.  Don Pollard/New York Governor's Office

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New York reached the 70% threshold for COVID-19 vaccines on June 15, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to lift many of the emergency orders he initiated more than a year ago.

“It means that we can now return to life as we know it,” the governor said at a ceremony held at One World Trade Center in New York City.

 

The milestone means 70% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Cuomo announced the state reached the goal President Joe Biden set for the country with nearly three weeks to spare.

 

Among the restrictions lifted June 15 included guidelines on social distancing, capacity limits, health screenings and contact tracing. Those are now optional for businesses like retail establishments, restaurants, salons, gyms and offices.

 

The state will require unvaccinated individuals to “continue to be responsible for wearing masks” based on guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

In addition, the state will maintain orders on large-scale indoor events as well as facilities that may include vulnerable populations. Those include elementary, middle and high schools as well as public transit, homeless shelters, jails and prisons and health care facilities, and the state will follow CDC guidance there as well.

 

Not all of the state’s regions have exceeded the threshold, but enough have to put the state over the bench mark. Long Island leads the state with a 75.3% one-dose administration rate, while Mohawk Valley’s 60.6% ranks lowest.

 

Cuomo took time to note what the state achieved in the 15 months since the health crisis began. He noted the state went from having the highest death tolls to the nation to one of the lowest rates of spread.

 

He also used the occasion to thank workers from across various industries and public agencies for their work during the pandemic. Representatives from 18 job groups, ranging from...


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