Franklin Square, Elmont residents still cautious after Cuomo lifts restrictions

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Franklin Square and Elmont residents remain concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, but are eager to return to day-to-day life without restrictions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo rescinded New York state’s pandemic-related regulations on June 15, after the state reached the target of 70 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated set by the governor. The state’s capacity, social distancing, health screening and disinfecting requirements were canceled, although some federal restrictions remain in effect at schools and health facilities as well as on public transportation.

“I definitely think it’s a move in the right direction,” said Becky Owens, of Elmont, noting the drop in the infection rate and the increase in the vaccination rate across Nassau County. “I think the timing is right.”

Owens added that although she remained concerned about the risks posed by Covid-19, she and others were looking forward to returning to everyday life without restrictions this summer. “I think it’s good that we’re timing it with the season,” she said. “It’s summer and people want to get out. I think people will be more comfortable out now, and it’s great for the economy.”

“What New York has done is extraordinary,” Cuomo said in a June 15 news release. “Not only do we have the lowest Covid positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 percent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation.”

More than 75 percent of adults in Nassau County are fully vaccinated, according to County Executive Laura Curran’s office. Some residents are skeptical, however, about whether New York state and Long Island have bested the pandemic.

“If … people are still getting sick and are vaccinated, it makes sense to keep wearing our masks until there’s some more certainty,” said Yvonne Peters, of Elmont. “There are no guarantees.”

Peters, who said she was not vaccinated yet, expressed her concern with the lack of certain protection from Covid-19 even with vaccination. She said that her skepticism was driven by an understanding of the brutal consequences of the pandemic. “Covid is real, and people have died, and it’s been very traumatic around the world,” she said. “For that reason, I’m going to stay safe with my mask and take it one day at a time.”

Others welcomed the end of pandemic restrictions. “I think it’s good [for] everyone,” said Vivian Yip, of Elmont. “We need some normalcy in our lives.”

Yip emphasized that although she was glad to see the regulations lifted, she was not opposed to wearing a mask. “I don’t mind putting a mask on,” she said. “It doesn’t impact my life one way or the other.”

But now that New York state has ended the restrictions, Yip said, she was eager to return to a normal world. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “My family is as well. All things in time.”