New York inches closer to dropping all COVID restrictions as more people get vaccinated

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(WETM) – Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that once 70 percent of New York adults receive one vaccine dose, the rest of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions will lift. Capacity caps, social distancing requirements, and proof of vaccination are big-ticket items that many business owners and local officials hope will be removed soon.

“I feel comfortable saying to the people of this state, we can relax virtually all restrictions,” Gov. Cuomo said.

New York must hit that vaccine threshold and until then, everything will be business as usual. Critics question if the state is ready to make this leap forward. Local officials in the Southern Tier say it is time to move on.

“Chemung County residents as a whole have done a great job during the pandemic,” Chemung County Executive Chris Moss said.

Amid this promising news, the Southern Tier seven-day positivity rate increased again. Today it reached 0.69 percent.

Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

RegionSaturday, June 5, 2021Sunday, June 6, 2021Monday, June 7, 2021
Capital Region0.61%0.61%0.57%
Central New York0.83%0.85%0.81%
Finger Lakes1.00%0.98%0.91%
Long Island0.43%0.46%0.45%
Mid-Hudson0.46%0.46%0.45%
Mohawk Valley0.79%0.74%0.69%
New York City0.43%0.43%0.43%
North Country0.61%0.50%0.56%
Southern Tier0.64%0.67%0.69%
Western New York0.64%0.66%0.61%
Statewide0.52%0.51%0.51%
Data is from Gov. Cuomo’s office.

Officials say they are not worried about the incremental spike, saying it is par for the course as more people return to normal.

“Families are getting together for barbecues before going out to eat before going out to bars, and restaurants. Obviously, people are getting together much more than they were just a couple of weeks ago and a couple of months ago,” Moss continued.

Lifting these restrictions does not come without consequences or risk. Chemung County Health says it is about risk reduction because risk elimination is virtually impossible. As businesses reopen, they are ready to bring back more customers. Removing the guidance would allow for increased indoor capacity and thus more people in local establishments.

“They just can’t function at 30, 40 or 50 percent. We need to be more,” Bonnie Mann, general manager at Jim’s Gym, added.

For Barb McClure, she has extra tables at the ready to add to her restaurant.

“We currently have 11 tables, but can expand to 18,” McClure told 18 News.

The restrictions will not be lifted for healthcare centers, correctional facilities, public transport, and larger-scale events. AS of today, New York had 68.9 percent of adults with one vaccine dose. This leaves 1.1 percent to go before these changes could take effect.

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