Starting Wednesday, New York will adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on mask wearing, allowing vaccinated people to go without face coverings in both indoor and outdoor settings.
But it doesn’t mean masks will be going away entirely: They will still be required on public transit, in schools and at hospitals, and some other communal settings.
Private venues and businesses will be able make their own decisions surrounding mask mandates. Some retailers, including Trader Joe’s and Starbucks, have already said that vaccinated customers are not required to wear masks.
“Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet.
Previously, the state policy required masks in public if social distancing is not possible.
Cuomo originally held off on making a call soon after the CDC made its announcement last Thursday, saying that he would review the guidelines before making changes to state policy.
Monday’s announcement comes just days before capacity restrictions are lifted May 19. At that point, restaurants and bars, gyms and other retailers will be able to operate at full capacity, as well as ease their mask mandates as they see fit.
Other states, including Florida, have already lifted mask mandates. Commercial landlords responded positively to the CDC’s updated guidelines, hoping that it may prompt office and retail tenants to return to business as usual.