NEW YORK CITY, New York: New York's mayor has announced that the city will "fully reopen" on July 1, after more than one year of the Covid lockdown.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement, noting the progress officials have seen in vaccinating the city's 8 million residents.
"We are ready to bring New York City back fully on July 1," de Blasio told a news briefing. "Now we can see that light at the end of the tunnel."
While De Blasio said he had not coordinated the opening with state officials, his announcement comes one day after Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted restrictions on all nightlife.
"I think the best way to proceed here is to set out the city's vision," de Blasio said.
Asked about New York City's reopening plan, Cuomo said he is hopeful that the opening might even happen before July 1.
"I don't want to wait that long," said Cuomo. "I think if we do what we have to do, we can be reopened earlier."
The announcement has special meaning, because not only is New York the largest city in the United States, but it was once the epicenter of the Coronavirus.
"It means that we're getting back on track, that everything's going back to normal," said Francisco Krauz, a construction worker, as quoted by Reuters.
De Blasio noted that 6.4 million doses of vaccine have been administered in New York City and more than 42 percent of residents have received at least one inoculation.
"People are showing up," he said. "We need to keep the momentum going. This is exactly how we get to the full reopening we're all looking forward to."
Statistics show that new Covid cases have fallen from its height of 7,000 cases a day to 2,000 cases daily.
De Blasio did not mention whether museums, theatres or other locations would have special rules in place as they reopen.
"There certainly will be particular institutions that may choose to have rules around a vaccination or testing," he told reporters, adding that the city will keep monitoring COVID-19 data and adjust its approach accordingly.