Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that 70% of adults in New York have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, a threshold he said the state would celebrate by easing many of its remaining social distancing rules and shooting off fireworks.
Effective immediately, he said, the state is lifting rules that had limited the size of gatherings and required some types of businesses to follow cleaning protocols or take people’s temperatures or screen them for recent Covid-19 symptoms.
Businesses will no longer need to require vaccinated people to wear masks and maintain six feet (2 meters) of distance. Unvaccinated residents must still wear masks and maintain distancing in public, and may need to show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test to gain entrance to some event venues, the governor’s office said.
Meanwhile, the city is poised to hold its first epic ticker-tape parade since the pandemic hit. Now, officials say, that nightmare appears to be receding. It’ll be the first large parade in New York City since the pandemic hit. Expect floats for everyone from transit and grocery and education workers to healthcare staff and others. De Blasio called it “a day to celebrate the heroes who often go unsung.”
Even as fewer adults are getting newly vaccinated, New York’s core viral metrics have plunged to record lows. The state’s rolling positivity rate is 0.41%, among the lowest in the country, according to Johns Hopkins. It has set all-time pandemic lows for the last 17 days straight and is in the midst of a 70-day stretch of decline.
“New York State has fully vaccinated a larger share of adults than any other big state in the country,” he told a cheering crowd that included first responders and hospitality workers.
New York joined California, where restrictions including physical distancing, mask requirements and capacity limits for restaurants, stores and other businesses that cater to consumers ended on Tuesday.
Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, large-scale event venues, correctional and healthcare facilities and nursing homes will be exempt from that restriction lift and will be required to continue following state COVID guidance.