Omicron cases surge in New York, hitting tourism: report
Industries hit in 2020 are being impacted again by the omicron surge
As the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to surge in New York, the state's tourism is reportedly taking a hit.
New York City tour groups and hotels have seen bookings and occupancy rates dip, according to a report from Spectrum News 1.
NEW YORK REVIVING SALES OF TO-GO DRINKS FROM BARS, RESTAURANTS, GOVERNOR SAYS
The outlet said Friday that restaurants and bars have been similarly impacted – though the already pandemic-battered industry is still holding out hope.
On Wednesday, Gov Kathy Hochul said that to-go cocktails would return.
"Cheers, New York! We're going to once again allow the sale of to-go drinks – a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year," she tweeted.
By December, omicron had taken hold of the Big Apple, and The New York Times reported New York set a record of more than 85,000 cases over the weekend, breaking the state's record set just days earlier.
WNBC said that the state reported 130 new COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday – the highest single-day toll since the mass vaccination rollout – and more than 11,000 hospital admissions.
Data from the New York Department of Health shows, as of Jan. 5, 84,202 people in New York have tested positive for COVID-19.
The omicron variant of the coronavirus has become the predominant variant in the state, with agency data showing omicron accounting for more than 95% of variants.
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According to WNBC, more than 1 in 5 New York COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, with New York City positivity rates nearing 1 in 3 tests over the last month.
Hochul continues to push vaccinations – especially for children – and testing during the spike.
Hundreds of city residents have waited in PCR testing lines for hours and others have searched desperately for rapid at-home tests.
On Friday, she said New York health care workers would be required to get COVID-19 booster shots, with a medical exemption only and no test-out option.
"Health care workers will be asked to do this with no exceptions other than a medical exemption and no test options," she told reporters. "So, we're the first state in the nation to institute this because this has been such an important priority. We've already seen what's been happening and our health care environments staff is getting sick. They're leaving. We need them to get well. We need them to have the best fortification they possibly can. And, that means getting a booster shot as well."
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Hochul also noted that while the numbers of cases and hospitalizations are still rising, nearly half are people who need to be there due to the severity of their COVID-19 infection and half are there for unrelated reasons and tested positive.
She said New York is "holding a line on overall hospitalizations" and that the state will have 49 million tests ordered.