Nov 29, 2021 - Health

NYC urges masks indoors "at all times" regardless of vaccination status

People wearing masks walking in Times Square.

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York City officials issued an advisory Monday "strongly" recommending that people mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status to curb the spread of the newly-discovered Omicron variant.

Why it matters: Dave Chokshi, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, announced the advisory in response to concerns of the new strain's potential implications.

  • The advisory recommends city residents wear a mask "at all times when indoors and in a public setting," but stops short of reinstituting a mask requirement.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that while there are currently no reported cases of the variant in New York City, "it is very likely there will be."

What they're saying: We "still have a lot to learn about the Omicron variant, but its emergence lends urgency to the importance of the precautions we've all become familiar with," Chokshi said in a press conference.

  • "Cases have been rising, including among our youngest New Yorkers in recent weeks," he added.
  • "Our understanding of Omicron will advance and we'll be able to adjust our public health strategies accordingly."
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