New York Mayor Eric Adams said Friday the city will lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions and the vaccination proof requirement next week as the number of coronavirus infections has been rapidly dropping.

The announcement marks a milestone for the largest U.S. city, once the country's hardest-hit spot in the pandemic. The city has reported around 40,000 deaths from the disease since the pandemic intensified in the United States in early 2020.

Starting Monday, people will not need to show coronavirus vaccination proof to enter indoor facilities such as restaurants, theaters and fitness centers in principle, while children aged 5 or older will not be required to wear masks at school.

The city will allow individual business operators to maintain such restrictions at their facilities according to their own judgement.

Masks will continue to be required for all settings with children under 5 years old.

"New Yorkers should be getting out and enjoying our amazing city. The fight may not be over, but we're clearly winning the war. We are open for business and New York City has its groove back," the mayor was quoted as saying by the city's official website.

According to the mayor, the vaccination of about 6.4 million people of the city's 8.8 million population has prevented the potential infections of 1.9 million people and some 48,000 deaths from the disease.