N.Y. ending COVID state of emergency

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa at a COVID-19 briefing at the governor’s office in Manhattan on Monday.

NEW YORK — New York’s state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic will end Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, after remaining in effect for more than 15 months.

New Yorkers endured stricter capacity, social distancing, disinfection and additional health screening requirements in businesses and social settings since the COVID-19 pandemic officially began when Cuomo signed an executive order March 7, 2020.

Most of those restrictions were lifted June 15 after 70% of state adults received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the state of emergency remained and executive officials would not answer when it would be lifted. The state of emergency will expire at midnight Thursday.

“It will not be renewed, it will punctuate the expiration of the emergency we have been in,” Cuomo said Wednesday during a briefing in Manhattan.

Masks or facial coverings continue to be required for unvaccinated New Yorkers, or people on public transportation, in health care, nursing homes or congregate settings.

The state will continue to follow the U.S. Center Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID guidelines, which recommend children in schools and at summer camps wear face masks indoors.

The Legislature unanimously voted in early March 2020 to grant Cuomo expanded spending and decision-making authority under the pandemic-related state of emergency. At the time, lawmakers and officials did not know how long the state of emergency would remain in effect, or how long it would be necessary to conduct legislative session remotely.

Republican lawmakers on June 7 called on their colleagues and legislative leaders to vote to terminate’s New York’s state of emergency and return the state to pre-pandemic government operations before session ended June 10. Lawmakers did not take the issue up for debate or a vote.

Senators in the minority conference have pushed a hostile amendment to rescind Cuomo’s expanded pandemic authority 47 times since last summer.

Both houses of state Legislature, controlled by a supermajority of Democrats, amended the governor’s powers March 5, but did not rescind the additional executive authority.

The first New York resident tested positive for COVID-19 on March 1, 2020.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

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