They were once two of the nation’s worst coronavirus epicenters. But life without COVID-19 restrictions is now a reality in New York and California—as long as you’re vaccinated. After hitting a 70 percent vaccination rate goal, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Tuesday that “we can now return to life as we know it.” He removed social distancing requirements, capacity limits and contact tracing. California also ditched most of its restrictions on Tuesday, ending capacity limits, mask rules, and social distancing for vaccinated people.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will continue to urge more residents to get vaccinated. “This virus is not going away tomorrow. This pandemic is not behind us tomorrow,” he said. He pointed out the new guidelines rely on people telling the truth about whether they’ve been vaccinated. Masks are still required on public transit in both states as well as in hospitals and schools.