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LIers enjoy 'freedom' from pandemic restrictions

As pandemic restrictions fade, beachgoers celebrate freedom

During the holiday weekend after most coronavirus restrictions had lifted, capacity was allowed to go up to 100% and no discarded disposable masks could be spotted in the sand.

"Everybody’s got their guard down, a lot more smiles, [people] enjoying themselves," said Vinny LaGrega, 39, of Hicksville. "It’s good to see. It’s good to see."

Long Island's beachfront state parks saw healthy attendance Monday. Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh had an estimated 61,000 visitors, or about 50% of its capacity, said George Gorman, Long Island regional director, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Robert Moses attracted about 49,000 visitors, or about 75% of its capacity.

And then there was 90-year-old Emely Uckert, of Holbrook, celebrating her independence on Monday at Robert Moses State Park in Babylon — her independence from her five children, that is.

Uckert spent most of the pandemic homebound, her children taking care of her chores and errands for fear their nonagenarian matriarch would catch COVID-19. Being fully vaccinated, coupled with the recent lifting of restrictions, means freedom, she said.

"The freedom of going out shopping. The freedom to go to church," she said. "The freedom to just be out with people." Read more from this story by Newsday's Vera Chinese.

Plus: The number of new cases in the state remained low during the July 4 weekend, with 368 new cases recorded on Sunday for a statewide positivity rate of .76%.

The chart below shows the percentage of Long Islanders vaccinated as of Monday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted COVID-19 restrictions after 70% of the state's adults received at least one dose, but these bars show the percentage of the entire population, according to state data.

Search a map of new cases, and view more charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.