UPDATE @ 1:00 PM: NEW YORK – After New York State hit a benchmark vaccination rate of 70 percent, Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday lifted most pandemic related restrictions.
Effective immediately, cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, health screenings, and contract tracing will be lifted for retail, food services, offices, gyms, amusement parks, barbershops and hair salons, among others.
Although in most settings mandates are lifted, Cuomo acknowledged that national mandates such as those for healthcare workers are still in effect.
COVID-19 health protocols will also still be in place for large-scale event venues, schools pre-k to 12th grade, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and nursing homes.
Unvaccinated people will still be required to keep a social distance of six-feet and wear a face mask.
Speaking at One World Trade Center, the Governor drew comparisons on how New York dealt with 9/11 along with COVID stating that the state is targeted but always builds back better.
“This is a momentous day, and we deserve it,” Cuomo said. “We will remember where we were, and where we’re doing. If you had said to us on Day 1, that we were going to be capable of the accomplishment we have reached, no one would have believed you.”
“20 million vaccines — more per capita than any big state in the country,” Cuomo furthered. “Congratulations to New Yorkers. We did it.”
The governor announced that there will be fireworks all across the state of New York Tuesday to honor the essential workers.
ORIGINAL @ 11:00 AM: NEW YORK – New York’s pandemic restrictions will likely be lifted soon after the state reached a big vaccination benchmark.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that the State of New York reached its goal of a 70 percent one-dose vaccination rate amongst those 18 and over.
Governor Andrew Cuomo previously announced that when the one-dose vaccine rate hits 70 percent, he will lift the remaining COVID restrictions statewide.
Cuomo is slated to hold a reopening announcement at 12:15 Tuesday in New York City.
While the 70 percent benchmark is one President Biden hoped the country would hit by July 4, Cuomo says New York still has work to do.
The governor explained Monday his new effort to target individual zip codes in order to increase low vaccination rates.
“And if you look at the bottom 10 percent, that are below 38 percent, okay, and the vaccination rate is 69 percent,” says Cuomo.
Chautauqua County has a vaccination rate of 56.5 percent while Cattaraugus County has 50.6 percent of those 18 or older with at least one dose of a vaccine.
The governor also highlighted the low vaccination rate of 12 to 17 year-olds as a target area.
“Why? Because they’re 12 to 17. That’s why,” explains Cuomo. “Because they are young and they are immune from everything. Also remember when COVID started, it was all about older people. We weren’t as focused on younger people, the mortality rate was not as high among young people. They weren’t even eligible for the vaccine early on. Remember, so they are a little bit late to the vaccine race.”
To encourage young people to get the vaccine, New York State will host a raffle every week for a full-ride to a state school.
“10 winners win a full four-year scholarship, room and board, to a state school. That’s about a hundred thousand dollars value,” says Cuomo. “So 12- to 17-year-old. You want to go to college? You’re worried about how you’re going to pay? Get a vaccine. It’s good for you to get a vaccine anyway and you’re in the running.”
Cuomo’s push to reach an even higher vaccination rate coincides with the state’s reopening and return to normalcy.
This return begins with the State Fair opening at 100 percent occupancy. It is expected to begin August 20 and run until September 6.
WNY News Now’s Mario Cosentino contributed to this report.