NEW YORK – After continued calls from several lawmakers in New York State, the COVID-19 state of emergency will end Friday.
After lifting many COVID related mandates last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the news on Wednesday.
Once the state of emergency ends, public meetings will no longer have to be held virtually. Bars and restaurants are also no longer allowed to sell wine, liquor and cocktails to-go.
Cuomo says health care workers and those using public transportation are still required to wear masks however.
“The emergency is over. It’s a new chapter. Doesn’t mean there’s not challenges for the new chapter, but the emergency is over,” said Cuomo.
While daily monitoring of COVID cases will also end, the Governor is still keeping an eye on virus variants and pushing for New Yorkers to get vaccinated.
Specifically, Cuomo continues to push for vaccinations among young people through a College scholarship incentive which ends next week.
He also reminded New Yorker’s of his plan to help the state recover from the pandemic, by bringing business and tourism back.
“New Yorkers, get a vaccine and get on with life. Get out of the house. Go experience New York. Go to a movie, go to Radio City Music Hall, see a concert,” said Cuomo.
While he takes credit for lifting the emergency powers and for leading the push to normalcy, State Senator George Borrello says that it was the Governor’s reluctance to give up his emergency power that limited New York’s ability to move past the pandemic.
“Our efforts as we move forward to rebuild and recover are hampered because of those executive actions,” said Borrello in a statement.
He says that he and other Republicans introduced legislation to add a system of checks and balances to the Governor’s power, but the legislation was ignored.