Cuomo announces New York will follow CDC's mask guidance

New York is set to join several other states that will begin lifting mask restrictions this week based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2021, 11:12 AM

Updated 1,065 days ago

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New York is set to join several other states that will begin lifting mask restrictions this week based on new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quiet over the weekend on whether the state would adopt the guidance that masks do not need to be worn in most places by vaccinated people, but he announced Monday that New York would adopt the guidance beginning Wednesday.
"As of Wednesday, I might feel comfortable doing it," says Kathlees Shortis, of Seaford. "It would feel a little weird I think, but we're all going to have to get used to it moving forward."
The governor says unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask.
As recommended by the CDC, masks will still be required on public transportation, in schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and health care facilities. For private businesses, mask rules are entirely up to them.
Some Long Islanders say regardless of their vaccination status, they are not ready to stop wearing masks.
"I still feel we should take precautions and wear the mask," says Zulfikar Ladak, of Merrick.
Cuomo also announced that the NYC Marathon can operate at 60% capacity and the TriBeCa Film Festival will take place, culminating with Radio City Music Hall opening at 100% capacity for a fully vaccinated audience to close out the festival in July.
For the NBA playoffs, the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will seat more fans. Cuomo says he is encouraging even more fans -- even up to 100% capacity -- as long as they are vaccinated.
In Connecticut, the mask mandate is being eased, while New Jersey is taking a wait-and-see approach.
"I can tell you if we take the masks off prematurely and what I mean by prematurely is in situations where people aren't vaccinated. You're rolling the dice a little bit," says Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer for Northwell Health.
Calls to take on the CDC guidance grew from both sides of the aisle in New York over the past few days, including from both of Long Island's county executives.
Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement, "As we continue to see active cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily dropping, the governor should implement the CDC's common-sense guidance."
Nassau Executive Laura Curran also encouraged Cuomo to do the same last week.
Some business owners are still not clear on what they can and can't do when it comes to asking patrons if they are vaccinated or telling them they still need to wear a mask.
"Am I allowed to ask for proof? What am I allowed to ask for? How far down the line can I or am I supposed to go? It doesn't seem like there's really a lot of clarification on that yet," says Gus Theo, of the Lighthouse Diner.
New York's COVID-19 rates are currently at their lowest level since September.


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