New York To Adopt New CDC Guidance on Masks and Social Distancing for Fully Vaccinated People

Date: May 19, 2021

Governor Cuomo announced that effective May 19th, New York State will adopt the CDC’s “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Full Vaccinated People” for most businesses, including but not limited to retail, food services, offices, gyms, hair salons and barber shops, and other personal care services. Unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks and socially distance in all public settings.

Businesses are authorized to require all patrons to continue wearing face coverings if they choose. The New York State Dept. of Health strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown.

New York State has released guidance on implementing the CDC’s interim recommendations on masks and social distancing. The New York State guidance contains new rules based on whether or not businesses congregate patrons. Businesses that do not congregate patrons and/or that operate below the State’s social gathering limit of 250 indoors or 500 outdoors (e.g., retail, food services, offices, etc.) can implement the CDC guidance. Businesses that congregate patrons and operate above the State’s social gathering limit (e.g., event venues, catering halls, conventions, etc.) are required to adhere to separate rules on social distancing, vaccination status, and testing.

Also, effective May 19th, most business capacities, which are currently based upon percentage of maximum capacity, will be removed. Businesses that do not congregate patrons may eliminate the 6 feet of required social distancing if patrons within the establishment are vaccinated or are in a separate designated area of the establishment. Businesses that do not congregate patrons can require individuals to present proof of vaccination through paper form, digital application, or the state’s Excelsior Pass, or businesses can rely upon self-reporting of vaccination status (e.g., honor system). All unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear masks and socially distance.

Schools, public transit, healthcare settings, and other congregate care facilities will continue to require face coverings, social distancing, and other requirements in New York State guidance.

For more information, view the New York State guidance on implementing the CDC’s recommendations for vaccinated people.   

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