BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s a big milestone in the fight against COVID-19: today, the CDC announced 70-percent of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
That is also the magic number Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided the state’s vaccination rate had to hit in order to lift coronavirus restrictions, many of which have been in place since last March.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining COVID restrictions, right?” Cuomo said during a press conference last week. “[To] get to a point where COVID is not inhibiting our society and inhibiting our growth. To do that we have to be at 70-percent.”
Many small business owners tell News 4 they’re now crossing their fingers for things to return back to normal, especially since many industries are struggling to stay afloat.
Jon Palmieri owns two local barbershops and said cutting capacity has led to a loss of business – but he’s optimistic things will soon change. He’s already making plans for when capacity and social distancing restrictions are lifted, like bringing back additional chairs to his downtown location and removing the plexiglass dividers at the Tonawanda shop.
“I feel like in the past two months we’ve been moving in the right direction, and in the last month I feel like we’re over the hump,” Palmieri said.
News 4 has reached out to the Governor’s office to see if and when he plans to lift the restrictions now that the CDC is reporting the state has reached the 70-percent benchmark. We have not heard back at this time.
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.