What to Know
- Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an end to New York's statewide indoor mask mandate in schools effective Wednesday, March 2; NYC intends to lift its school mask rules in a week, on Monday, March 7
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy previously set March 7 as the date to remove ongoing mask rules in school, while Connecticut's governor has already allowed the mandate to lapse
- The developments follow new CDC guidance essentially saying most people don't need to wear face masks in indoor public settings unless there's a high level of severe disease
After nearly two full years of wearing face coverings through virtually every critical component of daily life, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are loosening the last stringent rules (that they control, anyway) around masks.
Statewide indoor school mask mandates have dropped in Connecticut and are poised to drop in New York and New Jersey on Wednesday and Monday, respectively, as officials remove the last longstanding emblem of the pandemic.
New York City has said it plans to lift the mask mandate for the nation's largest public school system come Monday, March 7, as well as the Key2NYC vaccine mandate that requires customers show proof of vaccination to enter indoor spaces. The mandate requiring vaccination for employees will stay for the time being.
The developments follow recently updated CDC guidance essentially saying most people don't need to wear face masks in indoor public settings unless there's a high level of severe disease. The health agency's new benchmarks for assessing that threat level currently mean more than 70% of the U.S. population can go maskless.
So where will you still need to wear a mask, after March 7, in the New York area?
There are a few last bastions:
- Mass transit: The feds require masks on planes and trains (as well as in airports and transit stations), while NYC and NJ transit operators mandate masks on trains, buses and taxes/rideshare services
- Broadway theaters: Masks are required through April 30, at least
- Healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes as well as adult care centers
- Correctional facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Individual businesses that choose to mandate masks. State law allows local municipalities to opt for stricter standards around COVID if they so choose