It's a monumental day across New York State as Gov. Cuomo announced the "significant easing" of COVID-19 restrictions.

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For the first time in over a year, starting today, Wednesday, millions of New Yorkers won't have to wear a mask when visiting most places.

New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or physically distance in most circumstances, indoors or outdoors, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Also starting on Wednesday, Cuomo announced the "significant easing" of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Most capacity restrictions will be lifted at locations like retail businesses, gyms, food services, hair salons and offices.

Effective May 19, most business capacities—which are currently based upon a percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.

Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. Also, the outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people.

Starting May 19, large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30 percent capacity, which is an increase from the current 10 percent capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33 percent.

Outdoor dining curfews were removed earlier this week and indoor dining curfews will end May 31.

"The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and we're able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal," Governor Cuomo said.

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