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New York City Will Not Mandate Masks Indoors for Vaccinated

New York City
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that vaccinated people will not be required to wear masks indoors. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that those vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be required to wear masks indoors. Despite backing off from an official mask mandate, de Blasio passionately advised those who were vaccinated to wear their masks inside.

The Mayor of America’s most populous city said that he is shying away from an official mask mandate in order to shift the focus on vaccinations.

“Everything we’re doing is based on data and science, but it’s also based on strategy,” de Blasio said. “The overwhelming strategic thrust is vaccination, so we thought the right mix was to heavily focus on vaccination, continue to climb the ladder with more and more vaccine requirements in place, and to give a very clear message to all New Yorkers strongly recommending mask usage regardless of vaccination status. But we thought that was the right balance.”

New York City lightens mask guidelines compared to other major cities

de Blasio’s announcement is slightly unexpected after recent announcements from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as major cities like Washington DC and Los Angeles. The CDC released a new guideline advising fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks inside if they are in areas that currently experiencing surges in COVID-19 infections.

de Blasio’s announcement is curious in this sense since all five boroughs of New York City currently meet the CDC’s standards for high risk of infection. Washington DC and Los Angeles have followed the CDC’s lead and issued mask mandates for their metro areas.

But New York is not entirely without rules when it comes to masks. You are required to wear masks on public transit, in schools, and in hospitals– even if you are vaccinated.

The CDC’s latest statement is not exactly a mandate, but rather their official recommendation on how to best protect yourself against the Delta variant, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Over half of New York City residents are fully vaccinated, which is higher than the current overall US vaccination rate of 50%. The city is currently introducing new incentives to entice those on the fence to get the vaccine. Any NYC resident who gets their first does at a city-run vaccination center will receive a payment of $100.

de Blasio had already announced that city employees who are unvaccinated will have to submit to weekly testing after September 13th. He added to these guidelines today that all new employees of the city of New York will have to provide proof of vaccination before they can start their employment.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that it was the responsibility of local governments to implement their own mask guidances.


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