New York State will end its requirement that masks be worn in health care settings, including hospitals and nursing homes, starting on Sunday, health officials announced on Friday.
After that, such facilities will be allowed to set their own masking rules. The move brings the state’s guidance in line with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lifted the federal mandate requiring masks in health care facilities in September.
“The pandemic is not over, yet we are moving to a transition,” the state’s acting health commissioner, Dr. James McDonald, said in a statement. He noted that March 1 would mark three years since the first case of Covid-19 was identified in New York.
The end of the state mask mandate in health care settings comes days after Mayor Eric Adams ended New York City’s vaccine mandate for municipal workers, citing the 96 percent vaccination rate within that group.
Also on Friday, the city deactivated its Covid-19 notification service, which had alerted New Yorkers who signed up to news and information about the city’s policies and practices for addressing the virus. The last text message sent to users ended by saying, “Stay safe!”
New coronavirus cases in New York have dropped 30 percent in the past 14 days, according to The New York Times’s Covid-19 tracker, while the state vaccination rate is at 79 percent.