NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- For the first time, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended Monday vaccinated people wear a mask in crowded indoor settings, but he stopped short of making the new CDC masking guidance mandatory in the city.
"We want to strongly recommend that people wear a mask in indoor settings even if you're vaccinated," de Blasio said. "This is particularly true of course if you might be around anyone unvaccinated."
The mayor's focus remains on vaccines, and he announced a $1.3 million ad campaign to encourage parents to get their eligible school-age children, 12-17, vaccinated now so they're fully protected by the time school starts Sept. 13.
"Vaccination, vaccination, vaccination, that's the ballgame," de Blasio said.
The recommendations come despite the fact that COVID cases have ticked up slightly in the city, to an average positivity rate of roughly 2.29 percent. Hospitalizations remain low.
On Friday, the mayor told CNN he wants the focus to remain on increasing vaccinations. Now, city run sites are offering a $100 incentive for people to get their first shot.
"The main event is vaccination," de Blasio said. "Masks can be helpful. We're going to delineate to New Yorkers the best way to use masks. They don't change the basic reality. Vaccination does. So, what we want to make sure is that everything we do supports vaccination, focuses people on vaccination, doesn't distract from vaccination, or undermine vaccination."
The new recommendation comes after the CDC said the delta variant can spread even among vaccinated people, though among the small percentage of cases, symptoms tended to be mild. Almost all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
In July, Los Angeles imposed a new indoor mask mandate even for vaccinated people. New York City's decision not to follow LA's move puts the nation's largest city in line with tri-state area governors.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all continue to encourage mask usage, but do not require it.
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