New York Lifts Most COVID-19 Restrictions As Vaccination Rate Climbs

With 70% of the state's adults having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, New York has lifted almost all of its pandemic restrictions.

New York is officially back.

With 70% of the state's adult population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, New York has lifted almost all of its pandemic restrictions.

Restaurants, bars, and New York City's famous museums no longer have to limit capacity, require social distancing, conduct health screenings, or collect information for contact tracing - though businesses do have the choice to continue protective measures if they wish.

People cross 42nd Street as the sun sets on June 1, 2021 in New York City.
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

"Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70% vaccination ahead of schedule," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the latest step toward normalcy in a place that was once the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

"We're no longer just surviving - we're thriving," Cuomo said.

New York joins several states, including Vermont, California, Florida and Illinois, which have also lifted most if not all of their pandemic restrictions, as an increasing number of vaccinated Americans venture out after more than a year of lockdowns.

The U.S. has so far administered more than 309 million COVID-19 vaccines, driving down reports of new cases in many parts of the country. In New York City, nearly 60% of adults are fully vaccinated, while 65% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the city's health department. Statewide, nearly 70% of the population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, while half of the population is fully vaccinated.

The fireworks to honor frontline workers in NYC
The fireworks to mark the end of the COVID-19 restrictions in New York State and honor frontline workers are seen with the Statue of Liberty in New York City, United States on June 15, 2021. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In New York, pandemic restrictions remain in place in healthcare settings, on public transit, and at large indoor event venues that can hold 5,000 or more people (think Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn).

At large event venues, people with proof of vaccination are exempt from face mask requirements. Others must provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test and wear a face mask. But social distancing isn't required among tested or vaccinated attendees, meaning the concert mosh pits could be just around the corner.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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