NEW YORK — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks and physically distancing themselves indoors and outdoors in most circumstances.
This updated guidance will still require masks in crowded indoor settings such as buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
However, this announcement will not change anything for New Yorkers unless the New York State Department of Health adopts it.
In a statement Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is reviewing the guidance.
"In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening. We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz called this "great news" and said he is calling on the New York State Department of Health to align state policies with it.
“Today’s new CDC guidance for persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is great news and is further proof our local and national efforts to vaccinate all are making a huge difference in the fight against COVID-19. In Erie County, fifty-one percent of all residents aged 17 and above have been fully vaccinated, and just under fifty-one percent of all residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. While these numbers are good, it is essential that we fully vaccinate more people in our community to properly protect all from a terrible virus that has taken more than 1,800 of our neighbors. Today’s news is further proof of the importance of getting vaccinated, and if you have not yet been vaccinated, I ask you to please consider doing so as soon as possible.
"Additionally, because many of the rules and regulations regarding businesses in our state are set by the New York State Department of Health, I call on the New York State Department of Health to expeditiously review the new CDC guidance and align state policies with it.”
This announcement left some business owners with questions about how this guidance would be enforced.
Sports City Pizza Pub vice president Mike Rizzo said he is concerned about how he would determine who's vaccinated and who isn't in his restaurant. He said he would consider requiring masks even if the guidance changes.
"Do I have to hire someone at the door to start checking vaccination cards and all of that? In this time when we are struggling to get any sort of employees as is. This just adds another wrinkle to struggling restaurant business," he said.
Brandon Carr, who owns the restaurant The Quarter in Buffalo, said if adopted by New York State he believes it would be good for business.
"It's very exciting," Carr said. "We see the progress of getting closer and closer to just getting back to normalcy. I know it's going to be better for business. People are going to have a lot more confidence going out, feeling safer."