By John Dias

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s COVID state of emergency came to an end Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it is time to start a new chapter, but some city leaders are cautioning those who are not vaccinated.

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It was a long 15 months since the state of emergency was issued back in March 2020.

“People need to kind of start getting back out and getting back into their normal days of life,” Harlem resident Kyle Bonner told CBS2’s John Dias.

Most COVID restrictions were lifted statewide when New York reached a 70% partial vaccination rate last week. This is now the icing on the cake for those fully inoculated.

“I feel safer knowing that a lot of people are vaccinated, I think that’s the main thing,” Hell’s Kitchen resident Drew Harris said. “But certainly good that our policy makers think that there’s no need for a state of emergency anymore.”

WATCH: N.Y. State Of Emergency Coming To End, Gov. Cuomo Says 

The end of the emergency also means the end of Cuomo’s remaining executive powers, which gave him the authority to make decisions about business closers and safety protocols.

“That means local control resumes,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “The crisis, thank God, is passing. It’s time to restore normal democracy. Finally this is happening and it’s going to allow us to do so much more to serve our people.”

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines still remain in effect, so non-vaccinated people must continue to wear masks indoors.

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That’s why one Brooklyn man said he’s eager to get his second shot.

“Lose the mask, definitely, because it’s summer time, it’s getting hot out. Having something on your face the whole day, not much fun,” said Ryan Pierson, of Bedford-Stuyvesant.


Health experts warn those who have not been vaccinated the virus is still a threat, especially in the city.

“My concern is the indirect message that it can send to the public that this pandemic is over,” City Councilman Mark Levine said Thursday.

Levine is the chair of the Health Committee and is running for Manhattan Borough President. He says as the Delta variant continues to spread, danger is mounting for unvaccinated New Yorkers.

“There’s some neighborhoods where over 80% of adults are vaccinated, and some where it’s under 40%. So those neighborhoods are now exposed as this new variant rises,” he said. “There’s a real risk of localized outbreaks, especially when the fall starts.”

Local governments and businesses can still enforce their own COVID safety protocols.

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John Dias