Gov. Cuomo: New York’s COVID-19 state of emergency ends Thursday

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC/WIVB) — It’s been a long 15 months for most, but during his Wednesday coronavirus briefing Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York’s COVID-19 state of emergency expires Thursday.

“The emergency is over, the state of emergency that I declared expires tomorrow,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It will not be renewed.”

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that once 70% of New Yorkers 18 and older received at least one vaccine dose, most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.

That 70% threshold was reached shortly after, meaning 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.

Firework displays across New York celebrated the end of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

With the state of emergency ending Thursday, the governor said CDC guidance would remain in effect.

“The emergency is over, but the CDC guidance stays in effect — the CDC mask requirement for unvaccinated individuals, public transportation, homeless settings, certain institutions,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Local governments may continue, and I would urge them to continue to enforce those mask requirements where they are in effect.”

The governor said there is no longer a need for day-to-day COVID-19 updates.

“Today is not a day where we’re talking about COVID numbers,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We know where we are. We are past the day-to-day monitoring of COVID-19. We have reached a new plateau, a plateau that should give us all confidence in our success. A long time coming, a product of our efforts. New Yorkers were smart, and they were united, and they did what they had to do.

“But now we’re starting to write a new chapter, and the chapter we’re writing is the post-COVID emergency,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The emergency is over, it’s not that we believe COVID is gone. We still have to vaccinate people, especially young people, that’s still a priority, but the emergency is over.”

A statement Wednesday on the state of emergency expiration from New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt:

“Today’s news that the New York governor’s emergency executive powers will finally be lifted is long overdue news. The progress we’ve made wouldn’t have been possible without thousands of frontline workers, business owners and everyday New Yorkers who sacrificed so much over the past year. 

Now it is time for us to turn our undivided attention to the economic recovery and the rising crime wave devastating major metro areas all across the state. As elected officials, we must lead by example. Government officials should finally resume normal operations including making themselves available to the public and press.

We must do better to restore trust in our government, and that begins by making ourselves more accessible and accountable as state leaders.”

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