Fully vaccinated New Yorkers will be able to go maskless in most indoor spaces starting Wednesday, May 19, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

During a Monday, May 17, briefing, the governor announced that New York state will be adopting the CDC’s new mask and social distancing policies for vaccinated people. In most public indoor spaces, New Yorkers will no longer have to wear masks. 

However, adhering to federal guidelines, masks will still be required on public transportation and in schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters, health care facilities and correctional facilities, Cuomo said. 

Private venues may also still require masks, the governor added, and those who are unvaccinated and immunocompromised should continue to wear masks.

“We have to reopen,” said Cuomo. “We have to reopen smart, with a cautious eye. We have to get back to life and living and we have to do it the way New Yorkers do it. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and social distance, but if you are vaccinated you are safe, no masks, no social distancing.”

This news comes in stride with the lifting of many other New York COVID laws. 

The majority of capacity limitations for restaurants, museums, retail and offices will be lifted on Wednesday, 24/7 subway service has returned for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the indoor gathering limit has been increased to 250 people and the outdoor gathering limit has been increased to 500 people.

“The whole point of the CDC’s change, the whole point of our change, is to say to people, ‘there are benefits to being vaccinated’,” Cuomo said. 

COVID rates have been extremely low over the past few weeks, Cuomo said. The overall positivity rate is just over 1 percent, statewide hospitalizations are the lowest that they’ve been since Nov. 9 and statewide deaths are the lowest that they’ve been since Oct. 30.  

In Bushwick, roughly 50 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. 

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