Don’t toss the mask yet—if you live in New York state

HOLBROOK, NY ( / — New York state's COVID-19 restrictions, including mask-wearing and social distancing, are still in effect—despite the CDC’s newest guidance that the precautions are no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people in most settings.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a major turning point during the COVID-19 pandemic: fully vaccinated people can skip the mask and social distancing in most settings.

“If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart,” the CDC announced.

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But, the CDC continued: “except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, including local business and workplace guidance.”

This means New York state’s COVID-19 restrictions, including mask-wearing and social distancing, remain in place.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement several hours after the CDC’s announcement.

"In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening,” Cuomo wrote. “We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states."

Before CDC’s update on Thursday, New York announced the following changes to COVID-19 restrictions:

• On May 5, Cuomo announced that large-scale outdoor event venues will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet starting May 19. Cuomo also announced that in large-scale outdoor event venues, fully vaccinated attendees may be spaced next to one another, instead of 6 feet apart, in assigned, seated sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals. By June 19, the state will begin to pilot reduced social distancing at large-scale indoor event venues in assigned, seated sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals.

• On May 3, Cuomo announced the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on businesses, venues and gatherings. The easing of restrictions includes replacing business capacity limits based on percentage of maximum occupancy with the space available to maintain six feet of social distancing; increasing the outdoor social gathering limit to 500 on May 10 and the indoor social gathering limit to 250 on May 19; removing the outdoor residential gathering limit; and increasing the indoor residential gathering limit to 50 on May 19.

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