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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday, a flurry of COVID restrictions that will be lifted in New York.
BILL RITTER: Back to the coronavirus. You saw Governor Cuomo getting vaccinated. This on the day New York opened up inoculation eligibility to even more essential workers. That includes government employees, not-for-profit workers, and public-facing service workers, like sanitation, DMV, and postal employees.
Meanwhile, the governor also announcing that indoor fitness classes can resume in New York City. That's on Monday. And then on April 5th, the 11:00 PM curfew will be lifted for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls, and gyms. It will, however, for some reason, remain in place for bars and restaurants. Eye Witness News reporter NJ Burkett sorting it all out for us. He's live in Harlem. NJ.
NJ BURKETT: That's right, Bill. In Harlem, where the push to bring more of the vaccine to more people in more places came to the Mount Neboh Baptist Church. We are hearing, Bill, by the way, that the real problem here has been access, not reluctance. There are now a number of appointments available. The first one here went to a very familiar face.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he came to Harlem in a gesture of solidarity and to make a point. That the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is no less effective and just as safe as the other vaccines.
ANDREW CUOMO: Today I'm going to take the vaccine.
ANDREW CUOMO: And I'm going to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because I want to make the point, take whatever vaccine you can take.
NJ BURKETT: And with that, the governor became the latest of more than 1.3 million people vaccinated in New York City. The vaccination rate in the city's Black and Latino communities remains a little more than half of what it should be. But stepped up vaccine supplies and an expanded network of community vaccination centers are intended to change that. With the vaccination center in her neighborhood, Angie Dendy is anxious to book an appointment.
ANGIE DENDY: That I know I should be vaccinated.
NJ BURKETT: You hear that people do hesitate.
ANGIE DENDY: They do.
NJ BURKETT: Why?
ANGIE DENDY: I don't know.
NJ BURKETT: Harlem resident Reverend Cassius Rudolph says the real issue has been access, not reluctance.
You think we're turning the corner on this?
CASSIUS RUDOLPH: I think so. Get the vaccine. We're going to make it accessible and we want you to come out. It's at churches, they're having pop-up sites at churches here in Harlem, and at community spots, so we're trying to make sure this is accessible for everyone.
NJ BURKETT: But Mayor De Blasio says New York can do far better. Frustrated over the city's vaccine allocation from the state, he's pushing the Biden administration to deal directly with him, rather than with Governor Cuomo, in providing vaccine doses to New York City.
BILL DE BLASIO: It's quite clear that we've seen everything from states interfering to states not providing transparency and information to localities or just being ineffective. And we know-- cities know how to do this work.
NJ BURKETT: Well, we'll see how far the mayor gets with that request. He said the request is in discussions with the Biden administration but no promises, at least not so far. Again, the network of community vaccination centers is expanding. I'm told a number of appointments are now available. Live tonight.