BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Cuomo Lifts Most NY State-Mandated Commercial and Social COVID Restrictions
John Jordan | June 15, 2021
NEW YORK—The day everyone has been waiting for since last March is finally here. Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference at One World Trade Center today lifted most New York State mandated COVID restrictions effective immediately.
The governor during Day 472 of the pandemic emergency, noted that New York State went from the highest positivity rate on the planet at 48.16% at the height of the pandemic last year to the lowest in the nation at 0.40% as of yesterday.
The state’s health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings.
Gov. Cuomo said he was able to lift the state COVID restrictions because the state had reached the 70% threshold of adults over the age of 18 having at least one COVID vaccination. He said the state reached the 70% mark ahead of schedule.
UPDATE: New York State Association of Realtors Director of Government Affairs Mike Kelly tells Real Estate In-Depth that the ban on telemarketing by Realtors remains in effect since Gov. Cuomo has yet to end the state of emergency declaration.
Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. The state’s health guidelines continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.
The state’s COVID restrictions remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues—now defined as indoor venues that hold more than 5,000 attendees. Proof of vaccination can be used to eliminate social distancing and remove masks for fully vaccinated individuals, state officials said. Unvaccinated or unknown vaccination status individuals who are over the age of four must continue to present proof of a recent negative diagnostic COVID-19 test result and wear masks within the venue. However, social distancing can be reduced or eliminated between tested attendees, allowing venues to reach 100% capacity in all sections.
The governor said that New York State was “ambushed by COVID” and that during the pandemic life in New York “was like living in a science fiction movie.”
The governor noted that a key to the state’s success was the successful roll out of the COVID vaccines. “We’ve gone on to do more than 20 million vaccines, more per capita than any big state in the United States of America,” he said. “Congratulations to New Yorkers because they are the ones who did it. We’re no longer just surviving—we’re thriving.’
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients said in a prepared statement, “In communities across New York, the deadly Coronavirus is in retreat thanks to the state’s progress on vaccinations. New York went from being one of the hardest-hit states in the country to being one of the leading states in its effort to combat the virus because of a vaccination program that made it easy and convenient for New Yorkers to get vaccinated, state and community leaders who worked hard at the local level, and millions of New Yorkers who rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.”