Cuomo eases mask order for fully vaccinated New Yorkers, opens vax sites to walk-ins

FILE PHOTO: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan, New York City
A New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer wearing a protective face mask watches as people gather in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., May 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that New York state would be following the Centers for Disease Control’s latest guidance that fully vaccinated individuals do not need masks outdoors unless in a crowded setting.

Additionally, all state mass vaccination sites starting on Thursday will not require an appointment, Cuomo announced in a press conference, and every location will have capacity to accommodate every New Yorker, 16 and up, looking to get inoculated against COVID-19.

“We have a call once a week where the governor’s speak with the White House, the CDC announced today new guidance saying for New Yorkers, Americans who are fully vaccinated, when you are outside, biking, hiking, running or in small gatherings, you don’t need to wear a mask,” Cuomo said. “So that is liberating, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. New York has adopted that guidance, so that’s going to go into effect in New York State, also, we want to thank CDC for that.”

Local jurisdictions will have the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to make vaccinations walk-in as opposed to requiring appointments made online — which has proven to be an obstacle for many New Yorkers facing technical barriers.

While Cuomo said he believed the state was making progress in deploying the vaccine, things are slowing down not because of distribution but because of reduced demand.

“But we’re seeing a reduction in the number of people coming in for vaccines. We were doing about 175,000 vaccines statewide every 24 hours. That number is down to now about 115,000 vaccines every 24 hours,” Cuomo added. “You don’t have to call you don’t have to make an appointment, all New Yorkers 16 Plus, just come in to a mass vaccination site on Thursday, and you are eligible for a vaccine.”

The embattled governor did not take questions from members of the media during this appearance after a testy exchange between him and a number of outlets regarding the pending allegations of sexual misconduct against him which are currently under review by both the Assembly Judiciary Committee and Attorney General Letitia James’ office.

Cuomo denied the allegations against him once again and expressed confidence he would be vindicated in the AG’s report on the investigation.