Andrew Cuomo

MTA Reminds NYers Face Mask Mandate Still Applies in Transit

Gov. Andrew Cuomo threw a statewide fireworks party Tuesday night to celebrate NY's vaccine milestone and the end of most COVID restrictions, but some rules still apply -- including on trains and buses

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have thrown a huge statewide fireworks party to celebrate New York's vaccine milestone and the end of most COVID restrictions, but some rules still apply. And in case you forget, the MTA is issuing a friendly reminder.

The transit agency sent a note out Wednesday reminding New Yorkers and others that they still need to wear masks while riding its subways, buses and commuter rails, though you can feel free to drop them on outdoor platforms or at bus stops.

Cuomo announced the end of most COVID rules across commercial and social settings a day earlier, but certain places where the CDC still recommends masking up and other virus-related protocol are exempt from the state's restriction lift.

Those exceptions include:

  • Public transit
  • Pre-K-grade 12 schools
  • Healthcare settings
  • Correctional facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Homeless shelters
  • Large-scale indoor events venues

Unvaccinated people are also still responsible for continuing to wear masks in public settings in accordance with CDC guidelines, Cuomo has said. The MTA encourages people who aren't immunized to wear masks in outdoor areas, too.

Should the CDC change its recommendations, New York state will likely adjust its state guidelines accordingly, the governor has noted. Until then, mask up in transit.

Mask compliance in the MTA system has remained strong throughout the pandemic, with usage exceeding 90%, the agency says.

"New York has made remarkable progress fighting back against COVID-19, but the pandemic is still here and for riders to best protect themselves and their fellow riders, masks remain required," MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said in a statement Wednesday. "The MTA will continue to monitor CDC and New York State Department of Health guidance on masks and update our customers as needed." 

Though coronavirus case counts have gone up in states that have reopened, the uptick is slight thanks to the vaccines, says Dr. John Torres. More people with antibodies against COVID-19 means fewer cases and chances to spread to others.
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