JAMESTOWN – Vaccinated New Yorkers can now put down their masks after state leaders moved forward with adopting new federal health guidelines.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, after reviewing the new CDC guidance, announced the policy change on Monday in what he called a step to “get back to life.”
Unvaccinated and immunocompromised people must continue to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing, but people who have waited two weeks after completing their inoculation series no longer have to do either, starting Wednesday.
Furthermore, masks will still be required for everyone in certain settings, like schools and nursing homes.
Cuomo says it’s up to businesses and venues to decide how to check someone’s vaccination status. New Yorkers can use the New York State Excelsior Pass smartphone app to prove their vaccination status, and Cuomo said he expects customers will ask business owners whether they’ve checked whether other patrons are vaccinated.
“They can check, they can ask at the door, they can ask when you are seated at the table, or not,” Cuomo said. “There is no mandatory compliance that the state is imposing on the private vendors.”
New cases of the virus have been plummeting statewide in recent weeks: New York reported about 12,500 people tested positive over the last seven days, down 78% from nearly 57,500 in the last week in March.
The governor had previously announced that many restrictions on businesses will be loosened Wednesday, including rules that limited occupancy.
Cuomo explained that, starting Wednesday, venues can open up to 100 percent capacity as long as they only allow vaccinated people inside.