New York will lift the COVID-19 state of emergency effective Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
Fighting the pandemic will remain a priority, the governor said during a news conference in New York City, but he said that the state is entering a new phase in the battle.
“The emergency is over,” he said.
Lifting of the state emergency order will not do away with some regulations that are based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. That includes mask mandates on mass transit systems and in such facilities as nursing homes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
But other executive orders that Cuomo installed since the emergency began in March 2020 will end on Thursday.
That includes the end of restaurants’ ability to sell alcohol for takeout and delivery orders. The State Liquor Authority confirmed that news on Twitter after Cuomo’s announcement, and the immediate response was critical of the move.
The New York State Restaurant Association said that 78% of New Yorkers supported a permanent extension. However, efforts to lobby lawmakers before the state legislative session ended earlier this month failed.
“Only in New York would elected officials ignore an overwhelming majority of the public,” Association President Melissa Fleischut said in a statement. “Restaurants are struggling to find staff, keep up with rising costs and manage a limited supply of goods, and nearly two-thirds of the applicants will not receive Restaurant Relief Funds. New York State must do more to help, not hurt, our restaurant industry.”
Republicans in the State Legislature, who sought repeatedly to end the orders, said Cuomo’s move was long overdue.
“It’s time to restore local control and the rule of law to the State of New York!” tweeted Assemblyman Doug Smith, R-Holbrook.
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, issued a statement that echoed comments Cuomo made in thanking front line workers and others for their efforts and sacrifice during the past 15 months.
Ortt added that leaders now need to turn their efforts to ensure the state’s economic recovery continues and to find ways to stop the rise in crime that has taken place during the pandemic.
In New York City, overall crime rose 22 percent in May 2021 compared to May 2020. Robberies increased by 46.7 percent and shootings rose by 73 percent.
“We must do better to restore trust in our government, and that begins by making ourselves more accessible and accountable as state leaders,” he said.
This article was originally posted on Cuomo ends New York’s COVID state of emergency, effective Thursday