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Mask Mandate Lifted For Fully Vaccinated New Yorkers, But Private Businesses Split On Enforcement

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The mask mandate has now been lifted for fully vaccinated people in New York and Connecticut, but not in New Jersey.

Food services, offices, gyms, retail, salons and more can also increase to 100% capacity across New York state, but they must still be able to maintain six feet of distance if not everyone is vaccinated. As for masks, it depends where you go.

CBS2's Alice Gainer visited a barbershop Wednesday in Hell's Kitchen, where the plastic partitions were gone, along with masks for those vaccinated.

"I haven't seen my face in a year," one customer told Gainer.

"It just feels like things are back to normal," another customer added.

But at Levels Barbershop in Harlem, unless you're getting a beard trim, you still need to mask up.

"I don't have an issue telling people to put a mask on. I have masks here for them if they don't have one," manager Larry Wilson said.

For most businesses and public settings, if you are fully vaccinated, you do not have to wear a mask. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it's up to private businesses and venues to decide how to check someone's vaccination status.

But everyone still has to wear a mask at pre-K-12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and in health care settings.


At Donovan's Pub in Woodside, Queens, a green wristband means you've shown proof that you're fully vaccinated.

"Then you're free to walk around without your mask on. However, if you haven't been vaccinated or you can't prove it, we do require you wear your mask," co-owner Dan Connor said.

For the unvaccinated, the pub will use a combination of dividers between tables or space out six feet. So the large pub isn't quite at 100% capacity yet.

"We'll be able to dedicate certain dining rooms to fully vaccinated people," Connor said.

Watch Alice Gainer's report --

The masks can come off at Samad's Gourmet in Morningside Heights.

"I am happy that people, they feel a little free about moving without the mask," owner Hikmat Hasan told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

They are, however, still keeping a shield up at the register, just in case.

"Even if somebody sneezes with a mask or without a mask, if somebody coughs or whatever, at least we feel protected by the shield," Hasan said.

At Flowers by Valli off 112th Street, employees are keeping their masks on, but customers don't have to.

"We're happy to see them without masks as long as they feel comfortable," owner Gus Pappas said.


At TMPL Gym in Hell's Kitchen, they're holding off on 100% capacity.

"We feel that for the safety of our members, we're not going to do that," said general manager Paul Pietropinto. "We're about right at maximum 25% still."

The gym has invested in an HVAC system, has everything spaced out and still requires masks. It is waiting for more information from the Health Department before moving forward.

"Everything is a little in the gray area, so we just want to make sure that we're doing the safest option," Pietropinto said.

If you're asked to prove your vaccination status, you can show it in paper form, digitally or on the state's Excelsior Pass.

Some women Gainer spoke to said they plan to continue masking up in public no matter what.

"We don't know who is vaccinated outside or not," one said.

CBS2's John Dias and Alice Gainer contributed to this report.

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