New York will drop “virtually all” of its remaining Covid-19 restrictions when 70% of all adults have had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Monday, bringing the U.S.’s most populous city to the brink of a full reopening.
Cuomo announced the plan at a Monday press conference, explaining reopening guidance will be lifted across commercial and social settings when New York surpasses the threshold.
This will mean no more capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection protocols, health screening and contact tracing, Cuomo said.
However, some institutional guidelines will remain in place, including in large venues, schools, public transportation, homeless shelters, and correctional and healthcare facilities.
Mask requirements will remain in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has said fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks both indoors and outdoors in most circumstances.
What To Watch For
Cuomo said the state is currently 1.4% away from hitting the goal of 70% vaccinated, with 68.6% of adults at least partially inoculated, though the New York State Department of Health website puts the number at 66.2% (Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a question about the discrepancy). The governor estimated it will take eight days to reach the 70% threshold.
“When we hit 70% we will get back to life as normal, or as normal as you can be post-Covid,” Cuomo said.
New York’s new 70% threshold echoes President Biden’s goal to have that proportion of the country at least partially inoculated by July 4. A dozen states have hit that goal so far, including Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Meanwhile other states have been introducing increasingly flashy incentives to persuade residents still wary of the shot to roll up their sleeves. New York specifically has seen a drop off in demand for the vaccine, with a tracker from The Washington Post noting the number of doses administered this week decreased 46% from the week prior.