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New York State Adopts CDC's New Face Mask Rules

A woman walks past posters explaining mask requirements at Grand Central Terminal train station in New York City on Wednesday. Rules requiring masks on transit are unchanged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated mask guidance for fully vaccinated people.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past posters explaining how to wear a mask at Grand Central Terminal train station on May 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) - Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York will adopt the new CDC guidelines on masks on Wednesday, May 19th. Fully vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks outdoors or indoors, and won’t have to socially distance.

Cuomo says those who have received all of their required vaccine doses two or more weeks ago will no longer have to wear masks outside, or inside stores, gyms, and offices.

“If you are vaccinate, you are safe,” Cuomo said. “No masks, no social distancing.”

The fully vaccinated can also travel without having to quarantine or take a Covid test, but the tests might still be required for international flights returning to the U.S.

People who are unvaccinated or have not yet received all of their doses still have to wear masks and maintain six feet of distance from others. And masks will still be required on public transportation, including subways and airplanes, as well as in nursing homes, hospitals and doctors’ offices, and schools. Masks will also continue to be mandatory for homeless shelters and prisons.

Cuomo previously announced that many other pandemic era rules will also end Wednesday, including curfews for bars and restaurants, and many capacity limits for outdoor and indoor events.

The governor also says the New York City marathon will take place on November 7th, at 60% capacity with up to 33,000 runners. Registration opens June 8th.

County fairs will be allowed to take place, as long as they can maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

Cuomo made the announcements at Radio City Music Hall, where he said the closing ceremonies of the TriBeCa film festival will be held on June 19th.

But only the fully vaccinated will be allowed to attend.

James Dolan, who manages the music hall as well as Madison Square Garden, says a planned concert series this summer will require that ticket holders be vaccinated. Dolan, who also owns the New York Knicks basketball team, says the unvaccinated will be allowed at the sporting event, but he will give the vaccinated better access.

“We are still going to make room for people who are unvaccinated,” Dolan said. “But honestly, we are going to favor the vaccinated.”

Dolan says he has not yet figured out how to prove that attendees are fully vaccinated. Cuomo says ticket holders might be asked to produce their proof of vaccination card, or the state’s phone app that confirms vaccination .

Cuomo says part of the intent of the CDC rules changes is to provide more incentives to become vaccinated.

“’So there are benefits to being vaccinated,” Cuomo sad.

52% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, but the rate of vaccinations has slowed. Health experts say 70% is needed to achieve herd immunity from the virus.

The governor says he realizes that new rules represent a “radical change” from what scientists and government leaders have been telling the public for the past 15 months. He says it’s still OK to continue to wear a mask, if you feel more comfortable doing so.