What to Know
- Six of New York’s county executives are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to update the state’s COVID-19 protocols in accord with new federal guidelines that ease rules for fully vaccinated people
- The bipartisan group cited Thursday's announcement by the CDC indicating that vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
- Several states changed their COVID-19 rules after the CDC announcement, but Cuomo, a Democrat, said Thursday that his administration was reviewing the new guidance
Six of New York's county executives called Sunday for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to update the state's COVID-19 protocols in accord with new federal guidelines that ease rules for fully vaccinated people.
The bipartisan group of county executives cited Thursday's announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
“New York needs to follow the science-backed guidance of the CDC," the officials said in a joint statement. “As we continue to see active cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily dropping day by day and more people receiving vaccinations, the Governor should implement the CDC’s common sense guidance.”
Several states changed their COVID-19 rules after the CDC announcement, but Cuomo, a Democrat, said Thursday that his administration was reviewing the new guidance. A spokesperson for the state health department said Sunday that the review was continuing.
New York’s mask mandate dates to April 2020, when Cuomo first required everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask when out in public or unable to distance themselves from others.
The statement urging Cuomo to change the state's rules was signed by Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. Bellone and Ryan are Democrats, while the others are Republicans.
The executives added that New Yorkers who have not had themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 should do so.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement on the new CDC guidance late Thursday in which he reiterated the importance of masking up in higher-risk settings. Like Cuomo, de Blasio said his health team was still reviewing the new guidance, too.
“This is a monumental day in the fight against COVID. We are reviewing the guidance because masks will still be important for schools, public transportation, healthcare and congregate settings and more," de Blasio said. "But the message is clear: vaccinations are the way to bring our city, our lives, back. Get vaccinated. It’s safe, effective and millions of your neighbors have been vaccinated already. We have come so far—now we will reach the finish line together."
New Jersey's governor said Friday his state isn't yet ready to drop its indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people despite new guidance from the CDC, though he expects the Garden State could reach that point "within a matter of weeks."
Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the matter during a vaccine event in East Orange with Whoopi Goldberg. While he said the state isn't ready to ditch indoor masks for fully vaccinated folks yet, he did say those fully immunized "can do away with our masks" outdoors. Murphy had hedged on that when the CDC tweaked its guidance on outdoor face coverings for fully vaccinated people just about two weeks ago.
"Sooner than later, I would guess in a matter of weeks, we’ll get to the point where we can comfortably say, 'You know what? Inside no matter what you're OK," Murphy said Friday. "But I have to say at this moment in time we’re not there yet."
The governor also said fully vaccinated people needn't wear masks at personal indoor events like family birthday or graduation parties, but left that to individuals.