"If you are vaccinated, you are safe. No masks. No social distancing," Cuomo said.
As CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported, the CDC says fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks inside or outside. But with many restrictions loosening up, there has been some confusion over mask guidelines.
According to the CDC: When you're fully vaccinated you can resume activities without wearing a mask or social distance inside and outside, except where it's required by federal, state, tribal or territorial regulations.
Masks will still be required for everyone in certain settings, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, including:
- Public transportation
- Nursing homes
- Homeless shelters
- Correctional facilities
- Health care facilities
Initially, Cuomo said New York wouldn't budge until state health officials reviewed the new federal guidelines. Over the weekend, six counties urged the governor to adopt the CDC's guidance.
"Individual private venues still have the ability to add additional guidelines to the state guidelines and the CDC guidelines," Cuomo said.
- Ask CBS2's Dr. Max Your Vaccine Questions
- COVID Vaccine FAQ From CDC
- Vaccination Sites In New York City | Call 877-VAX-4NYC
- Track NYC Vaccinations By Zip Code
- Find A New York City Testing Site Near You
- Check NYC Testing Wait Times
- Resources: Help With Unemployment, Hunger, Mental Health & More
- Remote Learning Tools For Students And Parents At Home
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
Cuomo said 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."
Bob Orgel, owner of Garden Hardware in Hell's Kitchen told CBS2's Ali Bauman he plans to continue asking his customers to cover up for the time being.
"You don't know if someone is vaccinated or not just because they say they are," Orgel said. "I think there's gonna be problems because people are gonna say, 'I don't have to wear a mask because they said I don't have to wear a mask.'"
The rule change is welcome over at City Winery in Hudson River Park. It has already been requiring patrons show proof of vaccination or a negative test at the door of its music venue.
"We're gonna be a 100% vaccinated facility and we're checking that, staff, artists every patron then, yes, I think we'll be taking your masks off once you come in because you know everyone around you is also vaccinated," owner Michael Dorf said.
Cuomo made the announcement hours after overnight service on the city's subways resumed for the first time in more than a year as the city continued its emergence from the pandemic.
Road To Reopening
The New York City marathon is coming back and Radio City Music Hall will reopen to vaccinated audiences, Gov. Cuomo also said in a flurry of announcements Monday intended to accelerate the state's reopening.
"Let's get back to life," Cuomo said, speaking from Radio City Music Hall's grand auditorium.
- New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX
- New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC
- Track NYC vaccinations by zip code
- Nassau County more info here
- Suffolk County more info here
- Westchester County more info here
- New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545
- Connecticut book online here
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 New York City Marathon, the governor said, will return on Nov. 7. For now, capacity is capped at 33,000 runners, but Cuomo said that restriction could change in coming months if things continue to improve.
The governor had previously announced that many restrictions on businesses will be loosened Wednesday, including rules that limited occupancy.
Cuomo said that starting Wednesday, venues can open up to 100% capacity, as long as they only allow vaccinated people inside.
Radio City Music Hall will reopen in June at full capacity — but only for vaccinated people — with a red carpet event for the Tribeca Film Festival.
"This is what we've been waiting for, New York. To bring the culture back, to bring the spirit back to New York," said James Dolan, MSG Sports executive chairman.
"If you're unvaccinated, that's your choice," Cuomo said. "But you can't go into Radio City Music Hall with vaccinated people."
Business management expert Carl Gould said the rules put businesses in a tough position.
"It is nearly an impossible policy to follow. If you're a business owner you risk offending a certain percentage of your clientele no matter what you try to do here," Gould told Bauman.
New York has fully vaccinated about 43% of its 20 million residents, with rates as high as 66% in Hamilton County in central New York and as low as 27.5% in Allegany County in western New York and 30.5% in the Bronx.
CBS2's Natalie Duddridge and Ali Bauman contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.