New York State's statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted when it expires on Thursday.
"New Yorkers, this is what we've waited for. Tremendous progress after two long years. We're not done, but this is trending in a very, very good direction," Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.
For the last two months, customers and workers have been required to cover their faces or show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in most indoor settings. As CBS New York reports, the change marks a promising shift in the fight against the pandemic.
"New Yorkers did the right thing to get through the winter surge, and we can now lift the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses starting tomorrow," Hochul said. "Counties, cities and businesses can still choose to require masks."
But the governor said she's not yet ready to end the mask mandate for schools. In the meantime, schools will send test kits home with students heading into their upcoming break. State health officials will continue to monitor the situation and revisit the question in early March.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends masking in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
"I am fully confident that it will be safe to have kids take off masks in school, particularly in schools with high vaccination rates," Dr. Megan Ranney, of Brown University of Public Health, said. "My worry is that we're not quite there yet."
Even after the indoor mask mandate is lifted, everyone must still wear masks on public transit.
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