By Emily Drooby
“Give New Yorkers a round of applause,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo talking to a crowd during his Tuesday, June 15, press conference.
The state hit a major milestone: 70 percent of New York adults are partially vaccinated. Now, with over 400 days logged since the state shut down, it’s set to reopen.
“What does 70 percent mean?” asked Gov. Cuomo. “It means we can now return to life as we know it.”
The governor announced that almost all state-mandated COVID restrictions have been lifted.
That means no more social distancing or gathering limits for many places like camps, gyms, movie theaters, and sports venues. That also means no health screenings or contact tracing protocols.
Private businesses can impose stricter standards if they want to.
However, CDC restrictions including masks are still in place for health care and correctional facilities, schools, public transit, and homeless shelters.
“This is a momentous day and we deserve it, because it has been a long, long road,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Adults in the state have at least one vaccine shot and the city stands at 68.4 percent vaccination rate– but some neighborhoods are still well under 50 percent.
According to the most recent city data, some of the neighborhoods with the lowest vaccination rates in the Diocese of Brooklyn include – Canarsie, Rosedale, Flatlands/ Midwood, Bedford-Stuyvasant, and Far Rockaway. They are all under 45 percent.
During a recent interview, health care officials from the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Far Rockaway, Queens said accessibility and vaccine education were part of the issue.
They stress the importance of reaching out for information.
“Come in and speak with someone and get an informed opinion,” explained Dr. Ari Benjamin of the Center. “That’s the most important part. Don’t listen to what you see on the internet or from someone who may not be an expert.”
Looking at the numbers in some of these neighborhoods – work does still need to be done – even Governor Cuomo cautioning that we are still in this fight.
Still the state hit a major milestone and Tuesday night there will be a moment of celebration, fireworks will ring out across the state and landmarks will be lit in blue and gold.
A tribute to the strength and resilience of New York.