Health Care

De Blasio Urges New Yorkers to Mask Indoors But Stops Short of Reviving Mandate

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio takes a facility tour before a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a Nanotronics manufacturing center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 28, 2021. (John Minchillo/Reuters)

During a press conference Monday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to resume mask-wearing indoors, regardless of vaccination status, per the CDC’s guidance reversal — but stopped short of reimposing a mandate.

He specified that face-coverings are already required for all New Yorkers in health care facilities such as hospitals, public transit, schools, and other congregate venues. Currently, unvaccinated individuals are asked to mask in all indoor and outdoor public settings.

The mayor mentioned during an appearance on CNN Friday that his administration plans to emphasize vaccination over masks, contending that the former is the most effective way to combat the pandemic.

“The main event is vaccination,” de Blasio said. “Masks can be helpful, but they don’t change the basic reality. Vaccination does.”

The CDC updated its guidance recently to recommend that some vaccinated people   wear masks again in certain regions of the country with high transmissibility rates, most prominently the South and Midwest.

As of last week, the mayor has encouraged private enterprises to require verification of vaccination from both employees and customers. During various media appearances last week, de Blasio stated that businesses and restaurants should ask patrons to present a vaccine passport as a condition of entry.

“Any private sector entity, go ahead and do a full mandate,” de Blasio said Tuesday on the MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “If that’s something you feel you can do and works for you, do it now. Everyone’s in a different situation but go as far as you can go right now because we have to stop the Delta variant.” An official mandate from the city’s health department has not yet been announced.

Effective September 13, all individuals employed by New York City will be required to provide proof of vaccination or negative test results on a weekly basis per de Blasio’s order. City health care workers in public hospitals or facilities have a deadline of August 2 to comply with the regulation.

When asked about his political intentions for the 2022 New York gubernatorial race, de Blasio said he “hasn’t ruled out anything” but did not officially declare his candidacy. The mayor’s Democratic political rival, Andrew Cuomo, currently serves as governor and implemented his own vaccine mandate for New York state workers recently.

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