NY ends mandatory Covid mask requirement in public places
Mask mandates, however, are still in force in nursing homes, hospitals and other health-care facilities licensed by the state
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New York state Governor Kathy Hochul has lifted the 28-month-old Covid mandate requiring masks on public transport effective immediately.
The governor added that masks are no longer required in airports and ride-share vehicles, as the rate of infections wanes and hospitalisation decline
The mask mandate was first introduced in April 2020 when the virus was spreading fast throughout New York City.
The governor said that wearing masks have been made optional, citing recent guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hochul said that new boosters that target the dominant omicron subvariant BA.5. should also offer better protection against Covid.
According to CNBC, Hochul made the announcement before receiving her latest Covid booster.
“We do believe that we are in a good place right now, especially if New Yorkers take advantage of this booster. That is how we get back to not just a new normal, but a normal normal, and that is what we are striving for,” Hochul said during a news conference.
However, mask mandates are still in force in nursing homes, hospitals and other health-care facilities licensed by the state, the governor added.
President Joe Biden had first ended the nationwide mask mandate on public transport in April after a Florida judge ruled that the directive was unlawful. However, New York decided to continue with the mandate.
Since then, the people in New York started ditching the rule despite widespread compliance early in the pandemic.
Last week, the CDC approved the new boosters to fight against Omicron. While Pfizer’s shots are available for people ages 12 and older, Moderna’s vaccines are for adults ages 18 and older.
Around 78 per cent of New York state's population are fully vaccinated.
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