"It will punctuate the expiration of the emergency that we have been in because New Yorkers rallied because essential workers rallied," said Cuomo Wednesday during a briefing from Albany.
The state will continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control in handling the pandemic and will require mask wearing for non-vaccinated people. Local municipalities can continue to follow COVID protocols as they see fit.
The positive news came during a briefing that saw no COVID case statistics presented due to the state hitting a ‘plateau' and after ending most pandemic-related restrictions. But the governor had a warning for New Yorkers.
"There will be another virus. There will be a next one. We don't have the luxury of saving, well COVID, we managed, will never happen again," Cuomo said. "It will happen again and we have to be prepared."
Cuomo began lifting COVID-19 mandates in February, when New York was seeing high levels of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
In May, as the rate of new cases plummeted, he ended capacity-based restrictions for most businesses.
And last week, the governor lifted rules that required many types of businesses to follow cleaning and health screening protocols and ensure customers had space to stay 6 feet apart.
Cuomo has said COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for large indoor venues that hold more than 5,000 attendees, who must either show proof of vaccination or wear masks and present proof of negative test results.
The U.S. is also facing a threat from variants of the coronavirus.
Last week, the CDC labeled the delta variant a "variant of concern" following "mounting evidence" that the variant spreads more easily and causes more severe cases when compared to other variants.
With The Associated Press