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State Mask Mandate for Businesses to Expire Thursday But School Rule Remains in Place

Feb. 9, 2022 By Christian Murray

New York State’s indoor mask mandate will come to an end Thursday, although it will remain in effect for schools until at least early March.

The mandate for businesses is being dropped statewide Thursday, although local governments and businesses have the option to continue to keep the mask rules in place, Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a press briefing Wednesday.

“At this time, we say that it’s the right decision to lift this mandate for indoor businesses and let counties, cities and businesses to make their own decisions on what they want to do with respect to mask or vaccination requirement,” she said.

In New York City, proof of vaccination is still required to dine indoors as well as to work out at gyms and go to the movies. That requirement, implemented through an executive order by the mayor, remains in place for now.

Hochul put in place a state mask-or-vaccine mandate in December, requiring businesses to ask for proof of full vaccination or require mask-wearing at all times. The requirement came when there was a surge in cases as the Omicron variant took hold.

Hochul said she would make a decision concerning the school mask mandate during the first week of March. She wants to wait until after the mid-winter break before making a final decision.

She said that she would not take a “reactive” approach to masking in schools. Currently, the vaccination rate among New York residents between 5-11 years old remains low. More than 60 percent have not been fully vaccinated.

Masks will continue to be required at nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and on public transit.

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