New York Becomes the Latest State to Drop Its COVID Restrictions
The site of the country’s first major coronavirus outbreak, and one of its strictest lockdowns, is now lifting almost all pandemic regulations. With 70 percent of New York’s adult population having received a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Monday that businesses in the state can now operate at full capacity and without the need for social distancing. Contact tracing, health screenings, and routine disinfection, once mandatory, are now optional.
“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,” said the governor.
The announcement comes on the heels of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) announcement that businesses there could operate statewide without restrictions.
Both New York and California became famous for their strict public health mandate that closed dining rooms, shuttered churches, forced offices to operate remotely, and required people to abide by any number of absurd rules and regulations. Both states ditching their webs of restrictions on the same day signals just how rapidly the pandemic is coming to an end.
In New York, employers greeted the news with a call for workers to return to the office.
“The rollback of most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions is the green light that employers have been waiting for in order to bring employees back to the workplace,” Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, told The New York Times.
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said he wants all his New York staff back in the office by Labor Day, saying “if you can go out to eat, you can come back to work.”
Cuomo’s announcement still leaves in place some COVID-era regulations. In keeping with federal guidance, the unvaccinated in New York are still required to wear masks. Mandatory public health guidance will remain in place for large indoor events, at K-12 schools, on public transit, and in homeless shelters and correctional facilities.
Other emergency state policies enacted to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic will also remain in place, including an eviction moratorium that’s not set to expire until August.
Just under 53,000 New Yorkers died from COVID-19, giving the state the second-highest per capita death rate in the country. Only New Jersey fared worse.
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration released a new National Strategy for Countering Domestic
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