Thursday, February 2

Mayor Eric Adams says he’ll make decision on Key 2 NYC, school masks next week; state school masking mandate lifts March 2

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The New York State school masking mandate will be lifted on Wednesday.

But for now, the mask mandate remains in place for New York City Schools.

Mayor Eric Adams said he will decide if students and staff inside city schools can unmask next week, after he takes a look at the city numbers this week.

Mayor Adams said he will look at the same indicators before deciding if the Key 2 NYC mandate, requiring vaccines for restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, could also go away.

Adams said he is giving businesses the week to adapt while monitoring the numbers.

The city employee vaccine mandate will remain in place but for many, this is a step in the right direction.

“We think it’s a fantastic thing. People should come out and enjoy themselves,” said Olga Sakhmo, owner of Keuka Kafe and Wine Bar.

“It seems like the next step is getting rid of these mandates,” said Jennifer Brosnan, a customer.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams released a statement on Sunday, saying in part:

I want to thank the millions of New Yorkers who have gotten vaccinated to help stop the spread. New Yorkers stepped up and helped us save lives by reaching unprecedented levels of vaccination. I also want to thank Governor Hochul for her partnership with Ella in the fight against COVID-19 and for making clear that parents should be part of this conversation. Additionally, New York City’s numbers continue to go down day after day, so, as long as COVID indicators show a low level of risk and we see no surprises this week, on Monday, March 7 we will also lift Key2NYC requirements. This will give business owners the time to adapt and will allow us to ensure we are making the best public health decisions for the people of New York.”

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Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York announced that in light of the announcement made by Governor Hochul, they are no longer legally obligated by New York State to mandate mask-wearing in school as of Wednesday March 2, and that effective March 2, the wearing a mask by an adult or children in all Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York will be recommended but not required.

In addition, most school districts outside the city are lifting their mandates starting Wednesday.

“My friends, the day has come,” said Governor Kathy Hochul, citing recent CDC guidance which classified much of the state as “low risk” for coronavirus infection.

Hochul announced the mandate will lift Wednesday, March 2 with some guidance for counties that have a higher positivity rate.

“We will lift the statewide requirement based on all the data,” Hochul said. “However, there are some counties that have a higher rate of transmission. We will allow them to determine what is best for their county.”

She added that parents will have the choice to continue to send their children to school with masks and urged people to not bully those who still chose to wear them.

Hochul also said certain indoor settings like adult care facilities, nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and public transit will still have masking guidance.

This announcement moves the original timetable up about a week. Hochul pointed to the CDC guidance and current metrics for making the decision sooner.

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