Latest News New York

New York lifts all Covid curbs with 70 per cent vaccine threshold hit

New York, NY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced on Tuesday that “we can now return to life as we know it” because the state had hit his vaccination-rate threshold.

Earlier this month, Cuomo said he would lift “virtually all” Covid-19 restrictions once 70% of New Yorkers had received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Cuomo said on Tuesday that restrictions would be “relaxed as of today, effective immediately.”

“Remember June 15th. Remember today, because it is the day that New York rose again,” Cuomo said at Manhattan’s One World Trade Center, adding that June 15 was also his late father and former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s birthday.

Masks will still be required on public transit, but otherwise New York’s landscape of state mandates will be drastically diminished.

Counties and localities can still implement their own restrictions, and Cuomo said New York would still observe guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Businesses can also keep their own mask policies.

Cuomo did not clarify policies on masks and social-distancing measures in schools.

New York’s vaccination drive has been most successful in regions around New York City and to the north – Long Island and the area around the capital, Albany, have the highest rates of single doses administered.

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Latest News New York USA

Grand opening of Pier 76 on Manhattan’s western shoreline

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo June 9th announced the grand opening of Pier 76, a new recreational and cultural space on Manhattan’s western Hudson River shoreline, achieving the long-awaited inclusion of the former New York City Police Department impound parking facility into Hudson River Park. The project was completed in only 81 days, or less than three months. The Governor also announced that Pier 76 will be one of the sites hosting outdoor screenings for this year’s reimagined Tribeca Film Festival.

“As New Yorkers continue to make incredible strides in defeating COVID, we must focus on rebuilding and revitalizing our state for a post-pandemic future and nothing is more emblematic of this historic effort than Pier 76,” Governor Cuomo said. “For years, Pier 76 was an eyesore that blighted the west side. However, thanks to the hard work of so many New Yorkers, this gorgeous new park will provide residents and visitors with incomparable access to outdoor recreational opportunities and cultural attractions like the Tribeca Film Festival for years to come.”

In January, New York State took possession of Pier 76, located at West 37th Street and 12th Avenue, from New York City, which had used the 5.6-acre site and structure as a police department impound lot facility. The State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation dismantled the 245,000 square-foot impound facility at the Pier in early spring and created interim public recreation space to include a walking area and outdoor flexible space, as well as benches for people to relax and enjoy the waterfront views. The impound facility’s steel support structure was temporarily left intact to create a unique setting and partial shade. The $31 million project included environmental abatement, repaving, and installation of railings and lighting. Nineteen interpretive panels relay the history of the area, including the indigenous Lenape of Mannahatta and the evolution of the shipping industry.

The Pier also features a propeller from the S.S. United States passenger liner, famous as the record holder for the fastest passenger ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 20 feet in diameter, the propeller weighs 73,000 pounds. After completing 400 transatlantic voyages, the United States was retired from active service in 1969 due to the advent of affordable jet passenger service to cities across Europe.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “It’s truly exciting to provide access to this unique open space for visitors and residents of Chelsea, Clinton and Midtown communities, who’ve waited years for it to become reality. The last year has underscored how much parks mean to our communities, and Pier 76, with its astonishing urban and waterfront views, is quality open space like no other.”

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Latest News USA

Get a Shot to Make Your Future: NY’s free college raffle for kids who get jabs

Young people ages 12 to 17 who get vaccinated for Covid-19 between May 27 and July 7 will have a chance to win a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

The “Get a Shot to Make Your Future” incentive will award 10 scholarships per week, every Wednesday beginning June 2, for the next five weeks. Each scholarship will cover tuition, room, and board. Parents, guardians, and students can register to learn more about the random drawings here.

“You’re 12 to 17. You’re planning on going to college. You are wondering about how you’re going to pay for it. This is a full four-year scholarship to a SUNY school, to a CUNY school, to a community college, then moving on to a four-year program,” Cuomo said during a news conference. “So it’s a significant incentive for students, and by the way, it’s an incentive for parents. For parents, you’re worried about paying college tuition, tell your 12- to 17-year-old, go out, get a shot, it protects the family, protects the 12- to 17-year-old, and they are then eligible for a raffle. And again, it’s going to be among a small population, so your odds are good because it’s only the population that has been vaccinated.”

Federal Covid-19 relief and outreach funds will be used to cover the cost of this vaccination incentive program, according to a press release from the governor’s office. A total of 50 young people will win full scholarships to any public college or university.

The state is offering the scholarship to help boost interest in getting the vaccine as vaccination rates across the state take a downward turn. On Wednesday, Cuomo said state officials have seen a 47 percent decline in the number of people getting the vaccine.

About 52 percent of New York State residents have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, with about 45 percent now vaccinated against the virus.

The state is targeting the 12- to 17-year-old population because it is the age group with the least percentage of people vaccinated in the state, Cuomo said, with 8.7 percent of 12- to 17-year-old inoculated for Covid-19.

According to the state, children ages 12 to 17 make up for 5 percent of the state’s overall number of Covid-19 tests but 10 percent of its positivity rate. “That’s the highest differential of any age group,” Cuomo said. “That group is the lowest percent vaccinated by far in the state.”

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Latest News New York

NY to adopt CDC guidance for fully vaccinated, NYC advocates indoor masking

New York state will end mask mandates and adopt CDC guidelines for the fully vaccinated beginning Wednesday, but New York City’s health commissioner is still recommending masks indoors.
Dr. Dave Chokshi said he will still wear a mask indoors — and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

“I do recommend continued mask use in many indoor settings until even more people are vaccinated,” he said. “And personally, while I am fully vaccinated, I’ll be keeping my mask indoors in almost all settings. When I put it on, I will be thinking about the sense of community and the social norms, particularly around masking and distancing, that helped us get to this very hopeful stage of the pandemic.”

He and Mayor Bill de Blasio said more New York City residents still need to be vaccinated, and until that happens, steps to keep people safe should be taken.
“CDC guidance focuses on who has been vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “If you are sitting in a combined vaccinated people and unvaccinated people, you’ve to exercise caution. I think that’s what a lot of people are going to do. They are going to keep wearing masks any time it feels appropriate. I think a lot of different institutions will make their own decisions on what makes sense, but ultimately, we are going to watch the data.”

More than seven and a half million New Yorkers have been vaccinated, millions more and weeks sooner than the mayor’s original goal of five million by June.
The MTA held a press conference Tuesday encouraging people to return to mass transit and support local businesses at the same time. Masks will still be required in the transit system, indefinitely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Monday, but said immunocompromised people and unvaccinated people should wear a mask and social distance.
“If you are vaccinated, you are safe, no masks, no social distancing,” he said. “We are also going to follow the CDCs guidelines that you will still have to wear a mask on public transportation in the subways, buses, nursing homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, schools, health care facilities.”

The governor said the state has to reopen smart. “We have to reopen with a cautious eye, but we have to get back to life,” he said. “We have to get back to life and living. We have to do it the way New Yorkers do it, quickly and robustly.” 

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Latest News USA

NY beaches, pools may open at 100% capacity by July 4: Cuomo

Pack your sunscreen and grab a towel because New York beaches and pools could be open at 100% capacity by the Fourth of July if COVID rates continue to fall, Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday.

Memorial Day will still be the official opening day of the beach season, but those hoping to soak up some sun and play in the sand must maintain at least six feet of social distancing, which limits the number of people at each beach or pool.

The governor said he’s hopeful that the Empire State’s plummeting coronavirus numbers will mean such limits can be relaxed in time for July 4.

“We need to get ready for a great summer,” the governor said during a briefing in Buffalo. “The weather is turning. The winter is over. We need to get on with life and we want to have a great summer.

“So if the numbers keep going the way they’re going we are going to be able to do that. So we would actually be able to have a normal summer finally in beaches and pools,” he added.

Mayor de Blasio already announced that all of the city’s eight public beaches will open for Memorial Day weekend. The city’s 48 public pools will open on June 26.

Cuomo touted that a full 50% of New Yorkers are now fully immunized against the virus and the statewide positivity rate was 1.1%, the lowest since Oct. 17.

Hospitalizations continue to fall and dipped under 2,000 for the first time since mid-November. Still, another 26 New Yorkers died from the virus on Tuesday, the governor added.


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coronavirus Latest News New York USA

Vaccine required for in-person learning at SUNY, Hofstra

New York: All students returning to in-person instruction at SUNY and CUNY schools statewide this fall must be vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday, while Hofstra University said it would institute the same requirement beginning in September.  

Hofstra’s move covers all students except those who are in fully online or remote programs. There will be a process for those who want to seek a medical or religious exemption, university officials said. 

Adelphi University said Monday it will begin offering incentives to its faculty, staff and students who receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the fall semester. But university officials said there is no plan at this time to make vaccinations mandatory for students in the fall. 

Incentives will also be available to people who get vaccinated at Penn Station and the Hempstead LIRR station, as well as select New York City subway locations this Wednesday through Sunday. Up to 300 walk-ins per day at each location will get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will receive free round-trip LIRR rides at the railroad stations, and MetroCards at the subway stations. 

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Latest News New York USA

Get your jabs, get free beers in NJ, free admissions to attractions in NYC

New York: New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has set a goal to have 4.7 million residents fully vaccinated by June 30. More than 3.2 million people—around 37 percent of the state’s total population—are totally vaccinated. But in order to make the prospect of a potentially life-saving vaccine even more enticing, Murphy has announced a new program called “Shot and a Beer,” which allows anyone who gets their shots this month to receive a free beer at more than a dozen different breweries in the state.  

“We’re not going to be afraid to try new things,” Murphy said after announcing the program on Monday. The Shot and a Beer initiative is the result of a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Health and the Brewer’s Guild of New Jersey—and the breweries have generously agreed to cover the costs of those complimentary beverages.  

Any New Jersey resident aged 21 and over just needs to take their vaccine card to a participating brewery and show it to a member of staff. 
Meanwhile in Connecticut, the Connecticut Restaurant Association has teamed up with Governor Ned Lamont on a program they’re calling “Connecticut Drinks on Us.” From Wednesday, May 19 through Monday, May 31, residents who show their vaccination card at more than 200 participating restaurants in all eight counties can receive a free alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. 
Similarly residents aged 21 and up who get vaccinated at a Suffolk County point of distribution in May will receive a ticket for a free drink at participating wineries, distilleries or breweries. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the “Lift Your Spirit, Take Your Shot” initiative to encourage eligible residents to get vaccinated.  

New York City too is offering a slew of incentives to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would start offering incentives for vaccinations including tickets to: NYC Aquarium, NY Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo, Public Theater Membership, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Cyclones, New York City Football Club, and NYC Ferry. 
The mayor said he’d provide specifics later this week. 
“We’re going to be giving out the details in the next few days, but from this point on there’ll be many, many opportunities to get great, great prizes when you get vaccinated,” de Blasio said at a virtual briefing. “We want people to know, it’s time.” 
So far, 39.4%, or 7.7 million, of New York residents are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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Latest News New York

Reconstruction options for Iconic New Penn Station considered

New York: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 21 unveiled new reconstruction options for transforming Penn Station-the nation’s busiest transportation facility-into a world-class, 21st century transportation hub as part of the proposed Empire Station Complex. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT are working together to establish a framework that would unify the separate railroads’ concourses into one state-of-the-art open, light-filled space through two fundamental approaches following a yearlong strategic re-envisioning process, supported by FXCollaborative and WSP. 

“The Empire Station Complex is a transformative project that will support and deliver on the long-delayed Gateway vision for the entire East Coast and enhance the passenger experience in North America’s busiest transportation hub. Together with our partners in New Jersey and at Amtrak, New York State is moving quickly to advance this comprehensive plan,” Governor Cuomo said. “These reconstruction alternatives provide a framework for a new and improved Penn Station that serves as an appropriate doorway to a world-class city. Every single day, we get closer to the end of COVID-19 and the beginning of a new post-pandemic economy, and this project will be a cornerstone of the revitalized New York City that we must build together.” 

The existing Penn Station served 600,000 passengers daily prior to the pandemic. This iconic project, in combination with the new tracks and platforms to be built as part of Penn Station Expansion, will be capable of accommodating the future volume of customers using both the existing Penn Station and the newly expanded facility. Ridership is expected to grow to 830,000 daily users in 2038, about 54 percent of whom will be MTA customers using LIRR, Metro-North and the subway, and 42 percent NJ TRANSIT customers, with the balance being Amtrak customers.

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GOP Rep. Zeldin to run for New York governor

Rep. Lee Zeldin announced Thursday that he will run for governor of New York next year, making him the first high-profile Republican to enter the race.

“With one-party Democrat rule in NYC and Albany, the light that once shone as a beacon of what America can be has gone dark,” the Long Island Republican said in a Thursday morning announcement. “The New York that was once a magnet for the world’s best and brightest is now forcing its own to leave under the crushing weight of skyrocketing taxes, lost jobs, suffocating regulations, and rising crime resulting from dangerously liberal policies.”

“I’m running for Governor of NY in 2022. To save NY, #CuomosGottaGo!” Zeldin, a four-term congressman, wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “I’ll bring the kind of relentless, fighting spirit towards helping to save our state that Cuomo reserves for multi-million dollar self-congratulatory book deals, cover-ups, abuse & self-dealing.”

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he plans to seek a fourth term even as he faces an impeachment investigation, allegations from multiple women of sexual misconduct as well as accusations that his administration purposely misreported coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes. No Republican has won a statewide race in New York since 2002.

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