Mayor Adams Ends NYC Vax Passports, School Masks

Starting Monday, New Yorkers will no longer need to show proof of vaccination for indoor activities like dining and kids won’t have to wear face masks in school anymore.

via: New York Post

The eradication of the local COVID-19 mandates will come into effect starting Monday, Hizzoner said.

“The rates are now low enough that the mandatory program is no longer needed,” Adams said. “It’s time to open our city.”

Asked later if parades would be back this spring and summer, Adams said, “We have become so boring as a city. I want to become a city of excitement. We are looking to reinstate every parade, every festival, every block party. People need to get outdoors and enjoy our city again.”

The changes mean patrons at Big Apple restaurants, gyms and indoor venues — including theaters — will no longer have to show proof of vaccination in order to enter.

Individual businesses can still decide to enforce their own rules.

Children in K-12 school settings will also no longer have to don face coverings indoors.

“We want to see the faces of our children, we want to see their smiles,” Adams said. “We want to see how happy they are. We want to see when they are feeling sad so that we can be there to comfort them.”

Other COVID-19 protocols for schools, including social distancing and daily screenings, will remain in place for now.

Masks will still be required for educational settings with children under 5 years given that age group is ineligible for vaccination, Adams said.

“When you look at those under 5, they were more likely to be hospitalized. People wanted to say ‘let’s lift across the board’, but that’s not what the science was showing us. I know some people are concerned. I would rather people complain against me than… losing my babies in our city.”

United Federation of Teachers chief Mike Mulgrew called Adams’ mask decision “responsible.”

“Our doctors agree with the city’s medical experts that this is the right time to safely move from a mask mandate to an optional mask system,” Mulgrew said.

“Both the take-home tests and the in-school random tests showed no post-holiday spike and put the infection rate at less than 1 percent. This is the responsible, thoughtful way to make our next transition.”

Adams had teased his plans to nix the local COVID-19 mandates earlier this week, barring “unforeseen spikes” in new cases.

The numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths are still declining, the latest city health data shows. New York City recorded an average of 541 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days, which is down from the more than 2,000 per day just one month ago.

The city’s seven-day average positivity rate is currently 1.8 percent, Adams said.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Adams said.

He said New York City had averted 48,000 deaths, 340,000 hospitalizations and 1.9 million infections due to the Bid Apple’s high vaccination rates.

The figures, which came from a Yale University analysis, were blasted on a giant Times Square billboard on Friday.

The changes come after Gov. Kathy Hochul dropped New York’s statewide mask mandate for the majority of indoor settings last month and schools from this past Wednesday in the wake of new CDC guidelines.

Some pandemic restrictions, however, will still remain in the five boroughs for now — including vaccine mandates for public employees and private businesses.

The private business mandate, which requires employees to show proof of vaccination, means the Nets’ Kyrie Irving is still ineligible to play home games in NYC – even though he’ll now be allowed to attend as a spectator.

Mask rules are expected to still be enforced on public transportation and in nursing homes, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. Face coverings will also still be required in health care settings.

Outgoing NYC health commissioner Dave Chokshi called the axing of restrictions an “important day.”

“While this COVID-19 wave is ebbing, we can’t yet say the pandemic is ending,” he said. “We still have more work to do to ensure that even more New Yorkers are vaccinated, particularly our kids, and that all are staying up to date.”

As the return to normalcy continues, the city also revealed a new four-level COVID alert system to give clear guidance on what precautions New Yorkers should take in the event of another surge.

Chokshi, whose tenure as the city’s doctor is coming to an end, later broke down as he thanked New Yorkers.

“I believe there are jobs, there are careers, there are missions — and then there are callings,” he said. “For me, getting to serve as New York City doctor was undoubtedly a calling. It’s been the honor of a lifetime.”

Finally.

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