Cuomo: Today ‘major milestone’ in Covid fight with mask restrictions lifted for vaccinated people

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2021 at 10:42 am

NY also lifts capacity restrictions for many businesses

Starting today fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most cases when they are in public settings, both indoors and outdoors.

The state has also eased the capacity restrictions for many businesses and venues.

“Today is a milestone in New York State’s war against Covid,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a  news release this morning. “With positivity and hospitalization rates at their lowest levels since last fall, and more than 10 million New Yorkers having received at least one vaccine dose, today New York State is adopting the CDC’s updated guidance on masks and social distancing.”

“This means that, 399 days after New York was the first state in the country to implement a mask mandate, effective today, fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to use a face covering in most public places,” Cuomo said. “New York is coming back, and it’s a testament to the strength and grit of New Yorkers who banded together, stayed tough, and fought as one to defeat this Covid beast.”

In most settings, vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a mask, according to the CDC and the new state guidelines. Unvaccinated individuals, under both CDC and state guidance, must wear masks in all public settings.

Businesses also have the option to continue to enforce mask wearing, even for those who are vaccinated.

The state is still requiring masks at for Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and healthcare settings.

The state is lifting the restrictions on capacity for most businesses today. And businesses can eliminate the required 6 feet of social distancing for fully vaccinated people – but only if all patrons within the establishment or a separate designated part of the establishment — present proof of full vaccination status, Cuomo’s office said in a news release. Proof of full vaccination status can be provided by patrons through paper form, digital application, or the State’s Excelsior Pass.

“The steps we’re taking today don’t mean that Covid has been officially relegated to the history books,” Cuomo said. “We need to stay vigilant, continue to follow the safety guidelines in place, and help every single eligible New Yorker get vaccinated, so that we can finally reach that light at the end of the tunnel.”