Now that Israel has successfully gotten rid of its outdoor mask mandate, thanks to its efficacious inoculation drive, it won’t be long before New Yorkers can get a whiff of some fresh air either…or at least according to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio who hinted on Wednesday that the Empire State’s mask mandate mat come off by the end of June.
Dropping a subtle hint, de Blasio in a press conference on Wednesday said, “Continue to wear their masks and I’ll keep saying it at least through June: Stick with the mask, stick with the social distancing, people are still being smart and cautious and that’s helping us.”
The mayor’s senior health adviser, Dr. Jay Varma, reiterated it was hardly time to loosen critical restrictions but said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the latest numbers. He also agreed with a possible June end to outdoor mask mandates.
As it stands, New York and New Jersey have not stated any date for when COVID restrictions and mask-wearing mandates might come to an end. Nationwide, 24 states either never had or no longer have mask requirements in public places, with Connecticut joining that list in May. Although the CDC said masks weren’t necessary outdoors, they do encourage people to carry one with them at all times, in case it becomes necessary.
On the other hand, Connecticut is planning to lift the mask mandate next month. Effective May 1, curfew for businesses will be moved back to midnight, and all outdoor restrictions will be lifted in Connecticut. That includes no limits to table sizes and allowing alcohol to be ordered without food. Nearly three weeks later, on May 19, the state will end all remaining business restrictions. The state’s health department will issue recommendations for safe operation of indoor and large outdoor events, and the only mandate that will still be required is indoor mask-wearing — leaving social distancing up to the businesses.
Meanwhile, most New Yorkers are still not protected against COVID via vaccination. As of Wednesday, 42.1% of the population has had at least one dose, while 28.8% is fully vaccinated, the latest state data shows. During a news conference at a mass vaccination site in Yonkers on Wednesday, Cuomo touted the importance to continue vaccinations.