NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York woke up to a new era in the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday.

All state mandated restrictions have been lifted after reaching a 70% vaccination rate.

READ MORE: New York Relaxes Most COVID-19 Restrictions After Reaching 70% Vaccination Rate; Cuomo: ‘A Momentous Day’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday was “a momentous day” and announced a celebration for the record books. Fireworks illuminated the sky over 10 locations statewide, including the New York Harbor, reawakening the City that Never Sleeps from a long nap.

Watch: Chopper 2 Above Fireworks Celebrations In New York 

In Nyack County, many watched and thought of everything New York faced since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

“Lot of people I knew are gone. So that’s one thing I reflect on — the people who aren’t here to see what’s going on,” Nanuet resident Neville Moses told CBS2.

“It was a brutal year for everyone. I think that New York handled it really terrifically, I think people stepped up,” said Nyack resident Jane Delregno.

Seventy percent of New Yorkers now have at least one dose of the vaccine.

Cuomo pointed out the state that once had the highest infection rate now has the lowest in the country.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Relaxes COVID Restrictions Across New York State

“It’s the national goal, and we hit it ahead of schedule,” he beamed.

Capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting rules are now option for retail, food services, offices, gyms and salons.

READ MORE: See It: Fireworks Celebrate Essential Workers, As New York Lifts Most COVID Restrictions

“Give yourselves a round of applause,” the governor said.

But the kudos come with caution in some communities in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Harlem and Washington Heights, where vaccination rates still fall well below the goal.

“I think we have some more work to do in certain neighborhoods,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

The mayor said the city will keep working to get shots to people in those places.


As many celebrate with a sense of relief, others admit it will take some time to ease back into their pre-COVID comfort.

“It’s a little bit scary, but it’s also really exciting,” said Becca Williams, of Long Island.

“It feels so surreal,” Hofstra student Eddie Fitzgerald said.

“It’s been a really long and sad year, but glad that we’re back,” said Chelsea resident Krishna Shah.

“I don’t think after the last year and a half we had that anything is going to actually be normal again,” Brooklyn resident Kiara Flores added.

New York is now the 14th state to reach the 70% vaccination milestone.

MORE NEWS: Delta Variant Intensifies Urgency To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19, Health Experts Say


John Dias