On June 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the vast majority of the state’s pandemic-era restrictions are now a thing of the past. Most businesses in New York, including hotels, restaurants, bars, and stores, are no longer required by the state to implement social distancing measures, capacity limits, or health screening protocols. They can continue to do so if they choose. The decision was made as New York reached a vaccination milestone—70 percent of New York residents age 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re no longer just surviving—we’re thriving. The state mandates that have proven right and brought us through this pandemic are relaxed as of today, effective immediately,” Governor Cuomo stated on June 15. The only exception to the lifting of restrictions is large-scale indoor events with more than 5,000 attendees. For these events, attendees must provide proof of vaccination in order to be able to remove their masks inside. Unvaccinated attendees over the age of four must present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result and wear a mask inside the venue. The June 15 reopening is two weeks ahead of the July 1 reopening New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced at the end of April. “This is going to be the summer of New York City. You’re going to see amazing activities, cultural activities coming back,” Mayor de Blasio stated back in April.
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