The CDC released new guidance suggesting that 70 percent of Americans can now stop wearing masks, and no longer need to social distance or avoid crowded indoor spaces.
The recommendations no longer rely only on the number of cases in a community to determine the need for restrictions such as mask wearing. Instead, they direct counties to consider three measures to assess risk of the virus: new COVID-related hospital admissions over the previous week; the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients; and the new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the previous week. Based on these three factors, counties can calculate whether the risk to their residents is low, medium or high, and only areas of high risk should require people to wear a mask.
The CDC did note that people may choose to wear a mask at any time. In addition, people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
On the heels of the CDC’s issuance of its new mask recommendations, New York State announced an end to the statewide indoor mask mandate in schools effective Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Counties and cities will still have the authority to require masks in schools after the statewide order expires. Further, parents and guardians can also still send their kids to school in masks regardless of the change.
Mayor Eric Adams has announced that New York City is poised to eliminate school mask mandates and vaccine requirements for restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, by March 7, 2022, if case numbers remain low. As of now, all other vaccine mandates in New York City will remain in place. Therefore, all of the private-sector workers in New York City are still required to be fully vaccinated pursuant to the order put in place by Mayor Bill de Blasio at the end of last year.
We will continue to follow developments regarding recent recommendations and guidance and will keep you updated. Should you have any questions, please contact ALG.