At least 70% of New Yorkers have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine dose and effective immediately, all state-mandated Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing in lower Manhattan Tuesday.
“This is a momentous day, and we deserve it because it has been a long, long road,” Cuomo said. “We can now return to life as we know it.”
All state-mandated Covid-19 restrictions will now be immediately lifted across all commercial and social settings, including the requirements on social gatherings, capacity restrictions, social distancing, health screenings, cleaning and disinfection protocols, and contact tracing. Mask requirements will continue in pre-K settings, on public transit and in health care settings, Cuomo said.
Cuomo noted that at one point, New York state had a Covid-19 positivity rate of 48.16% – once the highest positivity rates in the world. The governor said Tuesday that New York state now has a positivity rate of 0.40% – now the lowest rate in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“We were alone, and it was frightening. It was like living through a science fiction movie…people abandoned New York, but others stayed and others fought,” Cuomo said. “Where are we today? We have the lowest positivity rate in the United States of America…we went literally, from worst to first.”
Cuomo said that New York state has administered more than 20.2 million vaccine doses to date and has fully-vaccinated “a larger share of adults than any other big state in the country.”
The governor also announced that all of the state’s assets, including the Empire State Building, will be lit in blue and gold Tuesday night. Additionally, firework shows will occur at 9:15 pm ET at various sites across the state Tuesday night.
“It’s our way of saving thank you all across to the state to our essential workers,” Cuomo said.