ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Governor Cuomo smiled broadly as he announced the long-awaited news: New York state has hit its 70% vaccination rate goal. That means 70% of the state’s 18 years and older population have received at least one dose, and all state-mandated COVID restrictions have been lifted for commercial and social settings.

The Governor’s COVID briefing began in its usual fashion. He stated how long it’s been since the pandemic began—day 472. Cuomo then harkened back to the darkest hours of the virus. He said that New York was ambushed, left with barren streets and rows of cots ready for ambulances to bring in those suffering from the virus.

“New York state was the victim of COVID. New York state, the highest positivity rate on the globe,” Cuomo said. “A moment of trauma. A moment that no one will ever forget and nobody should ever forget.”

The imagery of the beginning of the pandemic stood in stark contrast to the journey New York state has taken ever since and the reality of day 472 compared to day 1.

“We have the lowest positivity rate in the united states of America,” Cuomo said.

The audience erupted in applause and the milestones didn’t stop there. Cuomo then announced that New York has finally reached its goal of 70% vaccination rate.

Effective immediately state-mandated COVID restrictions can be lifted for all commercial and social settings:

  • Retail
  • Malls
  • Movie Theatres
  • Personal Care Services
  • Food Services
  • Offices
  • Real Estate
  • Buildings
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Construction
  • Trade
  • Child Care
  • Camps
  • Agriculture
  • Fishing
  • Forestry
  • Gyms
  • Fitness Centers
  • Amusement and Family Entertainment
  • Hair Salons
  • Barbershops

State-mandated COVID restrictions include; social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, health screenings, cleaning and disinfection protocols, and contact information for contact tracing.

Although New York Forward industry reopening guidance is no longer mandatory for most industries, businesses are permitted to lift all or some of the mandated restrictions and implement them as they see fit.

New York’s COVID guidelines will remain in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.