BUFFALO, N.Y. — Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will adopt the CDC's new mask and social distancing guidance for vaccinated people beginning Wednesday.
This recommendation will apply across retail businesses, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services.
While it's a step forward towards returning back to pre-pandemic life, it has left businesses with questions about whether or not they should continue requiring masks.
Many businesses are already making decisions. Home Depot, Starbucks and the Lexington Co-op have announced they will continue to require masks in their stores.
"At the Co-op, we will continue to require masks for all staff and customers until further notice. As of today, just over 40% of Erie County residents are fully vaccinated. As always, we will reevaluate this policy as the situation evolves. The safety of our staff and customers continues to be our top priority," said General Manager Tim Bartlett.
While Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe's, Target, CVS and Dash's Markets have said they will not.
A spokesperson for Wegmans said there will be no change in their mask policy given Monday's announcement.
New York State Restaurant Association President Melissa Fleischut said restaurant owners have many different ways they can approach this guidance.
"If they want to drop the six-foot social distancing requirement in between tables and at the bar area, they are going to have to ask people if they are vaccinated or not vaccinated," she said. "They can be a fully vaccinated restaurant and require that as a policy, they can set up vaccinated and unvaccinated sections."
This also means you may not have to wear a mask at gyms, depending on your gym. Joe Pepe Jr. is the Chief Operating Officer of a company that owns dozens of Planet Fitness locations throughout the WNY region and New York State.
Pepe said they will no longer require masks for people who are fully vaccinated starting Wednesday.
"As of Wednesday people that are vaccinated do not have to wear a mask," he said. "We will ask them when they come in and check in that they fill out a waiver that is in their Planet Fitness app that if they are maskless they have been vaccinated and we'll go from there."
It's important to note that you should still keep a mask handy because you will still need them for buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters and businesses that chose to require them.