NYS Drops One of Its Last Remaining Mask Mandates This Weekend: What to Know

State health officials said the change in mask guidance for health care settings was in line with recommendations from the CDC

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One of the final mask mandates in place for New York is coming to an end this weekend, just shy of the three-year anniversary of the when the first known cases of COVID-19 were detected in the state.

State health officials announced on Friday the end of mandated masks and face coverings inside health care facilities as of Feb. 12. The updated guidance, they said, is in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The pandemic is not over, yet we are moving to a transition. As we do, and with safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and more, we are able to lift the State’s masking requirement in health care settings as operators now develop and implement their own facility-specific plans, in accordance with federal CDC guidance and the level of transmission in their areas," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said in a statement.

Facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, home health care and hospice agencies, and diagnostic and treatment centers had been required to enforce mask wearing.

In Friday's announcement, the state points out that an increase in transmission could bring about the return of mandated masking if recommended by the CDC.

Few, if any, mask mandates remain in or outside of the state as policy makers rollback protections as the pandemic prepares to enter a fourth year.

The same day as the state's announcement, New York City's vaccine mandate for city workers was set to expire. Its policy, one of the strictest in the nation, no longer requires shots for incoming workers.

New York's Sandra Lindsay, RN, was the very first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.. Now, she is giving back to her homeland Jamaica on her next mission. NBC New York's Linda Gaudino reports.
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