Many New Yorkers Say They're Confused When And Where They Still Need To Wear Masks
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York state's mask mandate has been lifted in public places, but many New Yorkers are still wearing them, saying the guidelines are blurry.
On Wednesday, when Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the end to the statewide mask mandate, many New Yorkers let out a sigh of relief, including restaurant owner and chef Salvatore Corea.
"It's two years now with this pandemic, so everybody wants to go out with not any mask, not wearing masks or anything," he told CBS2's Thalia Perez.
Corea says he opened Cacio e Pepe on the Upper East Side in May 2021, and just like many business owners, he says he is leaving it optional for restaurant patrons and employees to wear their masks.
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Mask wearing isn't optional, though, in a number of places, such as: correctional facilities, homeless shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, child care settings, public transit and on airplanes.
"So I'm not sure I completely understand. So you don't have to wear a mask in stores or restaurants if you're vaccinated?" said Elsa Girma, of the Upper East Side.
Many New Yorkers, like Girma, say they aren't clear on what exactly the guidelines are because they're not cut and dried.
"It's very confusing. Having a single source to go to would be wonderful," Joshua Sigal said.
Sigal says even though he doesn't have to wear a mask, he will.
"Because they're wearing masks in school. I think it sets a good example for the kids, and I think it's safer for everybody," he said.
It's actually up to individual businesses to decide if patrons and employees will wear masks.
More businesses are ending mask mandates for vaccinated employees across the state, including Walmart, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and workers on the New York Stock Exchange.
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And keep in mind, the city-wide vaccination requirement is still in effect, including those for city workers and private-sector employees.
Masks in schools are also still required, and Hochul says that will continue until she reconsiders it after winter break.
CBS2's Thalia Perez contributed to this report. Editor's note: This story was first published Feb. 12.
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