Fireworks in major cities across New York state on Tuesday night (June 15) celebrated a major milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: the lifting of all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions after the state reported that 70% of its adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lifting and the fireworks displays earlier on Tuesday. The iconic Empire State Building and other state landmarks were lit in blue and gold, New York’s colors.
Restrictions across commercial and social settings will be lifted immediately. Cuomo said some limitations based on guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would remain in place, with mitigation measures still required in public transit and healthcare settings.
Businesses will no longer need to require vaccinated people to wear masks and maintain six feet (2 meters) of distance. Unvaccinated residents must still wear masks and maintain distancing in public, and may need to show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test to gain entrance to some event venues, the governor’s office said.
Cuomo, whose state was the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 public health crisis last year, also said individuals and businesses could still choose to adopt some precautions.
Most U.S. states have moved to ease or lift coronavirus restrictions as the virus abates and vaccinations progress.
(Production: Mana Rabiee)