De Blasio urges New Yorkers to wear masks if ‘not sure’ about new rules05/19/2021
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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said vaccinated New Yorkers should feel free to keep wearing masks if they don’t understand the rules or it just makes them feel comfortable — as the state adopted guidelines saying inoculated people can ditch the coverings in most settings.
“If you are vaccinated, you have a lot more freedom and that’s important to recognize,” de Blasio said Wednesday during a City Hall press briefing.
“My personal advice is wear a mask when you’re not sure [of the rules],” the mayor added. “If you just prefer to wear a mask, that’s OK. Whatever you want to do in that case is fine.”
As of Wednesday, New York adopted the new federal indoor mask guidelines that say those vaccinated against COVID-19 can go mask-free in most indoor areas except schools, nursing homes, health care settings and on public transportation.
Vaccinated New Yorkers are now able to go mask-less at restaurants, retail stores, offices, gyms and salons if the business permits it.
De Blasio noted that the city will keep its mask policy at municipal offices.
“In our city offices, for example, we’re going to keep the policy of wearing masks,” he said, noting how vaccinated and unvaccinated employees are working side by side. “You know it’s going to be a mix of people — keep your mask on.”
Hizzoner continued, “The bottom line is this — vaccination equals personal freedom and vaccination equals freedom from COVID for all of us.”
De Blasio brushed off potential concerns from business owners about how to police the mask rules for those who are and are not vaccinated, saying, “I really don’t find this, personally, as much of a challenge as some of the questions might have suggest. I think a lot of people are working this out.”
Businesses have a “choice” when it comes to a face mask policy, de Blasio explained.
“Each business, each cultural institution, whatever it is, has a choice on how they want to do this,” he said. “If they say ‘For now we’d like to ask everyone to keep a mask on,’ that is their right, or if they want to state the policy at the entrance, say ‘If you’ve been vaccinated, you can have your mask off, if you haven’t been, you can keep your mask on,’ and let people do that on the honor system, that’s their choice.”
The mayor said he believes that regardless of the policy, “A lot of people are going to keep their masks on right now because they just want to be careful and I think that will go on for a while.”
De Blasio, who is fully vaccinated, said that when it comes to himself, he will wear a mask “when in doubt.”
“That’s the approach I am going to take,” de Blasio said, adding, “There’s other cases where I am just gonna keep it on out of an abundance of caution.”
Meanwhile, the Big Apple’s coronavirus indicators are all below the thresholds the city has previously set for the first time since mid-October.
“All the indicators have entirely gone in the right direction,” a joyful de Blasio said. “This is a really important day. It proves vaccination works.”
Gotham’s COVID-19 infection rate on a seven-day rolling average was at 1.44 percent, the latest city data shows.
According to the data, 96 people were admitted to city hospitals with suspected COVID-19 on Monday and 24 percent percent of them tested positive for the bug.
The city’s seven-day rolling average of new virus cases was at 537.
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