New York — Nearly all of New York’s remaining Covid-19 rules will end once 70% of the state’s adults have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.
Social distancing requirements, capacity limits, cleaning and disinfection mandates, health screening rules and requirements to collect contact information for tracing infections will all end when the 70% threshold is reached.
So far, 68.6% of adults have had at least one dose. Cuomo guessed the state would reach 70% in about a week.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining Covid restrictions,” Cuomo said. “Get to a point where Covid is not inhibiting our society.
“We hit 70%, we will be back to life as normal, or as normal as you can be post-Covid.”
A few settings will face continued mask mandates and other rules, including large event venues, public transportation, health care facilities, schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities. Those settings will be required to follow Covid rules until more people are vaccinated, Cuomo’s office said.
But restaurants will no longer be bound by social distancing rules or capacity limits. Businesses will no longer have to worry about constant cleaning.
Kids’ gymnastics centers and dance schools will be freed from taking students’ temperatures before classes.
The changes will apply to retail, food services, offices, gyms, fitness centers, amusement parks, family entertainment centers, hair salons, barber shops and personal care service providers, among other commercial settings.
Unvaccinated people should still keep 6 feet apart from others and they’re required to keep wearing masks, according to Cuomo’s office.
After New York’s rules are lifted, businesses can choose on their own to continue following the state’s Covid guidance or implement other precautions. They can continue requiring masks and social distancing for everyone if they want.
It’s worth noting that even when the state reaches 70% of adults with at least one dose, there will still be millions of people not yet vaccinated. Kids under 12 years old are not even eligible for the shots yet.
Among all New Yorkers, not just adults, 54.6% have received at least one dose and just 47.1% have received all required doses and are fully vaccinated.
Demand for vaccines has declined considerably since earlier in the spring when appointments were hard to come by.
Cuomo said today that some vaccine sites often see just a handful people a day.
The state plans to focus on zip codes with lowest vaccination rates in the weeks ahead, Cuomo said. He unveiled a list of the 25 zip codes in the state with the lowest rates.
None were in Onondaga County, but there were several in Upstate New York, including parts of Buffalo, Rochester, Jefferson County, Cattaraugus County, Montgomery County, Seneca County and Steuben County.
Cuomo announced over the weekend that the state’s lottery ticket giveaway will last another week at 10 vaccination sites. Anyone who gets a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot at one of the sites between today and Friday will get a free scratch-off lottery ticket.
The ticket’s top prize is $5 million.
The participating vaccine sites are:
- Queensbury Aviation Mall - Sears at 578 Aviation Road, Queensbury
- Rochester Dome Arena at 2695 E. Henrietta Road, Henrietta
- Jones Beach - Field 3 at 1 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
- Suffolk County Community College - Brentwood at 1001 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood
- SUNY Orange at 9 E. Conkling Ave., Middletown
- Ulster Fairgrounds at 249 Libertyville Road, New Paltz
- SUNY Oneonta at 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta
- Bay Eden Senior Center, 1220 E. 229th St, the Bronx
- SUNY Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Ave., Potsdam
- University at Buffalo South Campus, 3435 Main St., Buffalo
Anyone interested can make an appointment online. The sites are also open to walk-ins.
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