Sep 7, 2022 - Health

New York lifts mask mandate for public transit, including subways

A New York City Subway employee is seen in Manhattan on Sunday, August 21, 2022.

A New York City Subway employee in Manhattan. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that face masks will no longer be required on mass public transit.

The big picture: New York will now resemble other mass transit systems across the country, which changed their own COVID-19 face mask rules after a federal judge overturned the nationwide mask mandate for transportation, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Hochul announced the decision Wednesday, saying masks will be "optional in some places where they had previously been required."

  • This includes the New York subway system and homeless shelters, per the New York Times.
  • "Masks are encouraged, but optional," reads a post shared by Hochul. "Let's respect each other's choices."
  • Masks will still be required at "state-regulated health care facilities" and in clinical settings, including hospitals and nursing homes, Hochul said.

State of play: New York's COVID-19 infections have been dropping and remain stable, Bloomberg reports.

  • “We haven’t seen any spikes, and also people are getting back to work, back to school,” the governor said, according to Bloomberg.
  • “We are seeing major declines in hospitalizations,” Hochul said, per NYT. “We have to restore some normalcy to our lives.”

Flashback: Hochul had been expected to change the COVID requirements for months now, NBC New York reports.

  • The governor said in mid-April that the mask requirements wouldn't last too much longer. A surge of omicron variant cases kept the requirement in place, Axios previously reported.
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