Mayor Adams says he'll make decision on Key 2 NYC, school masks next week after studying data

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022
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Mayor Eric Adams said he will decide if students and staff inside city schools can unmask next week after he takes a look at the city numbers this week. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York state is dropping it's school masking mandate Wednesday, but for now, masks will remain in New York City public schools.

Mayor Eric Adams said he will decide next week if students and staff inside city schools can unmask after he takes a look at the numbers this week.

He said he will look at the same indicators before deciding if the Key2NYC mandate, which requires vaccines for restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, could also go away.

Cameron Kluger, a senior at Styvesant High School, is looking forward to seeing the faces of his friends, without masks.

"I think it's going to be surprising to see some faces we haven't seen the first six months of school," he said.

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Adams said he is giving businesses the week to adapt while monitoring the numbers, while the city employee vaccine mandate will remain in place for now.

For many, this is a step in the right direction.

"We think it's a fantastic thing," Keuka Kafe and Wine Bar owner Olga Sakhmo said. "People should come out and enjoy themselves."

Adams released a statement on Sunday, saying in part:

"I want to thank the millions of New Yorkers who have gotten vaccinated to help stop the spread. New Yorkers stepped up and helped us save lives by reaching unprecedented levels of vaccination. I also want to thank Governor Hochul for her partnership in the fight against COVID-19 and for making clear that parents should be part of this conversation. Additionally, New York City's numbers continue to go down day after day, so, as long as COVID indicators show a low level of risk and we see no surprises this week, on Monday, March 7 we will also lift Key2NYC requirements. This will give business owners the time to adapt and will allow us to ensure we are making the best public health decisions for the people of New York."

WATCH | Breaking down mask mandate changes in NY Tri-State

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York announced that in light of the announcement made by Governor Kathy Hochul, they are no longer legally obligated by New York State to mandate mask-wearing in school as of Wednesday March 2, and that effective March 2, the wearing of a mask by an adult or children in all Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York will be recommended but not required.

In addition, most school districts outside the city are lifting their mandates starting Wednesday.

"My friends, the day has come," said Hochul, citing recent CDC guidance which classified much of the state as "low risk" for coronavirus infection.

Hochul said there will be additional guidance for counties that have a higher positivity rate.

"We will lift the statewide requirement based on all the data," Hochul said. "However, there are some counties that have higher rate of transmission. We will allow them to determine what is best for their county."

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She added that parents will have the choice to continue to send their children to school with masks and urged people to not bully those who still chose to wear them.

Hochul also said certain indoor settings like adult care facilities, nursing homes, correctional facilities homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and public transit will still have masking guidance.

This announcement moves the original timetable up about a week. Hochul pointed to the CDC guidance and current metrics for making the decision sooner.

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