New York’s mask or vaccine requirement for indoor businesses and venues will be lifted starting Thursday, a watershed moment in the State’s battle with Covid-19.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the shift at a press conference as Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all receded from a peak in early January. Fewer than 4,000 new cases were reported statewide Sunday, down from more than 82,000 a month earlier. “Why is this happening? Because New Yorkers stepped up and did the right thing,” she said.
Hochul noted that mask requirement for schools and some health care facilities like nursing homes and other settings (including correctional facilities, homeless shelters and public transportation) will remain in effect. And individual counties, cities and businesses will still be allowed to make decisions on masking or vaccine requirements if they choose.
“The storm clouds are parting, just as the Covid clouds are parting,” Gov. Hochul said. “Our Covid numbers are declining on many fronts.”
The state imposd an indoor mask mandate December 13. It required masks in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. The Governor is allowing it to expire.
Hochul said a decisions on masks and schools and other Covid-19 protocols will be reassessed in early March.