New York’s state of emergency ends, monument to honor essential workers coming to Battery Park City

Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The State of New York will no longer be under a state of emergency as of June 24.

Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo placed New York under a state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He announced during his June 23 presser that he will not be renewing the state of emergency, which is set to expire on Thursday, June 24.

“The emergency is over. It will punctuate the expiration of the emergency that we have been in because New Yorkers rallied and essential workers rallied,” said Cuomo.

The federal CDC guidelines will stay in effect, with mandatory mask wearing on public transportation for unvaccinated individuals. Local governments can also choose to enforce mask guidelines in these situations.

Cuomo stated that New York would be transitioning into a new phase called the post-COVID emergency period. Though COVID is far from over, Cuomo says that the emergency is over — however, the state will continue to monitor the virus as more mutations arise and work to get more people vaccinated.

“It’s not that we believe COVID is gone. We still have to vaccinate people, especially young people,” said Cuomo. “We’re still watching COVID. It would be irresponsible and reckless not to be wary and vigilant about COVID.”

Cuomo stressed that in this post-COVID emergency period, it is important to not just rebuild New York, but to make it better than it was before and to carry the lessons that we learned during the pandemic because there will be another virus. To help be prepared for the future, Cuomo signed the Safe Staffing Bill into law, which helps healthcare facilities prepare for future emergencies.

“We don’t have the luxury to say, COVID, that’s it, never happen again,” said Cuomo. “It will happen again, and we need to be prepared.”

As a thank you to the essential workers, Cuomo announced that a special monument will be built in Battery Park City. Entitled the Circle of Heroes Monument to Essential Workers, the monument will be comprised of 19 maple trees in a circle around a path to signify the different pillars of responsibility for each sector of essential workers. The center will have an eternal flame to honor the lives of those essential workers that lost during the pandemic.

The monument is expected to be completed by Labor Day 2021.

“These were people who went above and beyond — not the millionaires in society, not the highest paid people in society, but now the most important workers in society, and they rose to the occasion over and over,” said Cuomo. “I believe that essential workers are heroes in the truest sense of the word.”