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As vaccine rates rise, more states are easing their virus rules

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — More cities and states are shrugging off lingering COVID-19 restrictions as vaccination rates rise and the number of infections falls. 

Massachusetts lifted its mask mandate and restrictions on businesses Saturday. 

In New York City and Chicago, officials reopened public beaches. Other states, including Minnesota, Virginia and New Jersey, have recently lifted pandemic restrictions. 

It’s one more sign of progress that reflects increasingly positive health data. Federal health officials say about half of the country has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 

Leading the nation is Vermont, where nearly 70% of the population has received at least one dose. 

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