Governor Kathy Hochul will let the indoor mask mandate expire tomorrow. Some restrictions may continue, especially for schools where vaccinations lag, according to the New York Times.
by David Stone
The Indoor Mask Mandate Expires on Thursday
To the relief of many COVID-exhausted residents, the indoor mask mandate ends on Thursday, February 10th. Three sources told the Times that Hochul will not extend the mandate imposed at the start of the Omicron surge.
Hochul hinted at it on Tuesday, following bold headlines:
Lowest Statewide Cases per 100k 7-Day Average Since November 30
Fewest Hospitalizations Since December 26
Fewest Patients in ICU Since December 20
71 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday
“We are improving in terms of lower positive cases, hospitalizations, and infection rates statewide,” she said. “We cannot let our guard down now. Those who have yet to get their vaccine, their second dose, or their booster shot should do so as soon as possible. It’s safe, effective, free, and widely available throughout the state. Keep your loved ones safe and healthy by utilizing the best tools at our disposal.”
There was no reference to masks or social distancing.
Tuesday’s data is summarized briefly below:
Test Results Reported – 99,004
Total Positive – 4,281
Percent Positive – 4.32%
7-Day Average Percent Positive – 4.36%
Patient Hospitalization – 5,019 (-50)
Patients Newly Admitted – 425
Patients in ICU – 790 (-24)
Patients in ICU with Intubation – 426 (-26)
Total Discharges – 277,916 (+345)
After Hochul ends the mask mandate, restaurants, museums, stores and other public venues will no longer need to check for vaccinations before allowing people to enter. Face masks will not be required in any case, although some venues may still opt for protections. High statewide vaccination rates make lifting restrictions possible.
Exceptions may prevail in schools where rates are low, especially among younger children.
“I’d like to see it higher than 34%, which is what we’re looking at now for the 5-to-11-year-olds,” the governor said on Monday. “I know we can do better than that.” The vaccination rate for older kids – 12 to 17 – is nearly 80%.
A formal announcement by Governor Hochul is expected today.
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