“Today New York State reached our goal of 70% adult vaccination. That means we can return to life as we know it,” Mr Cuomo said in a tweet. “Effective immediately, state-mandated COVID restrictions are lifted across commercial and social settings.”
Last year, New York became the epicentre for the novel virus, recording more than 2 million infections and over 53,000 deaths from Covid-19.
But the state has since excelled at lowering its positivity rate and vaccinating residents.
On Sunday, the seven-day positivity average was 0.41 per cent, which was down from the state’s peak of 7.9 per cent on 4 January. Across the state, every region has a positivity rate of lower than 1 per cent.
This made New York among the top six of states with the lowest positivity rate across the United States, according to the Becker’s Hospital Review.
“Life is about thriving. Life is about seeing people. Life is about loving life is about celebrating. Life is about enjoying life ... is about interacting. And now we get back to living in life,” Mr Cuomo said during his Tuesday press conference.
More than 11.1 million of all New Yorkers, or 55.7 per cent, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 9.8 million, or 49.2 per cent, were fully vaccinated against the novel virus, according to the state’s data.
Mr Cuomo said that reaching 70 per cent of adults meant that the mandates he put in place as early as March 2020 would be relaxed “effective immediately”.
Masks will still be required on public transit despite reaching the milestone, as Mr Cuomo said New York would continue to follow guidance put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But all other mandates would be drastically restricted across New York state.
The governor acknowledged that the 70 per cent marker did not mean an end to the pandemic.
“We want to celebrate, but we want to remember what we are celebrating,” Mr Cuomo said Monday ahead of the state reaching the milestone. “We’re coming around the last turn.”
“The more people get vaccinated, the lower the positivity rate,” he added.
In celebration of the milestone, the Empire State Building and all other state assets will be lit up in blue and gold.
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