New York to adopt new CDC mask guidelines effective Wednesday, Cuomo says

Woman walks under the subway in Brownsville section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City
FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask walks under the subway in the Brownsville section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., May 3, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Fully vaccinated New Yorkers will be able to do most anything in New York state without wearing a mask as of Wednesday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state will begin following, on May 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance on mask-wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That change will coincide with the regional reopening of the New York City area that same day.

“We’re also going to follow the CDC guidelines that you will still need to wear a mask on public transportation the subways the buses nursing homes, homeless shelters correctional facilities, schools and health care facilities,” Cuomo said. “The CDC guidance is all up on the website in the video individual private venues, still have the ability to add additional guidelines to the state guidelines, and the CDC guidelines, but for our part, we’re adopting the CDC and we’re saying, let’s open. This comes at a good time for New York, because we had already said we were going to do our major reopening this Wednesday.”

On May 13, the CDC recommended that individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can walk outside without masks, and go maskless in most indoor settings. The agency still advises wearing masks in confined areas such as planes, trains, buses, and in large public venues such as hospitals and doctor’s offices.

“Part of that is common sense the people who are most eager to get to get a vaccine came in and got it. And now we’re getting towards a percentage of the population that’s not that eager to get the vaccine and then you have a subgroup that is just reluctant and hesitant to get it,” Cuomo added. “We started a new program, because these are times to be creative and do things you’ve never done before.”

Under the revised mask order for New York state, Cuomo said that any unvaccinated or immunocompromised New Yorkers who haven’t received the vaccine will still be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. 

Making the announcement at Radio City Music Hall, Cuomo said it was just one of many venues, including Pier 76 where the Tribeca Film Festival will be held this year, that will only admit vaccinate people to fill seats at 100% capacity.

In order to access events, New Yorkers can present their vaccination card or an Excelsior Pass which provides digital proof of inoculation against COVID-19 which can be obtained from the state and displayed on a smartphone devise through an app.

This policy will reflect the policies in neighboring states, New Jersey and Connecticut, and comes as New York reaches a statewide vaccination rate of 52%, according to the Cuomo administration.

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