‘A Momentous Day’: New York Lifts Most Virus Restrictions

Officials made the move after more than 70 percent of adults in the state had received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.


By Luis Ferré-Sadurní

Restaurants will no longer be forced to space tables six feet apart or use physical partitions; movie theaters will be allowed to pack their auditoriums without spacing seats apart; and entering commercial buildings won’t require a temperature check.

With 70 percent of adults in New York having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the state took a major step toward normalcy by eliminating nearly all restrictions on businesses and social gatherings, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

The changes, which will take effect immediately, mark yet another milestone in the economic recovery of a state that was once an epicenter of the pandemic, and are expected to bring back the type of scenes familiar to most New Yorkers in prepandemic times.

With the order, the state, in most cases, will end capacity limits and no longer require social distancing, disinfection protocols and health screenings, instead making it optional for businesses to impose such health precautions on their premises.

“This is a momentous day and we deserve it because it has been a long, long road,” Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, said at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday. He added: “We can return to life as we know it.”

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