New York City will lift mandates next week requiring masks in public schools and proof of vaccination to dine in restaurants or enter entertainment, sports and cultural venues, Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday.
Standing in Times Square, Adams said that while the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, he was confident that it is now safe to send children to school unmasked.
“We want to see the faces of our children. We want to see their smiles,” the mayor said, adding that parents could continue to send their kids to school with face coverings if they wished.
The mayor, a Democrat, last weekend said he would lift the mandates if infections and hospitalizations continued a downward trend. He stressed that the mandates could be re-imposed if a new variant emerges that, like omicron, poses a special danger.
“If we see a rise in cases or hospitalizes, we are going to come back,” Adams said.
Individual businesses can still decide to keep mandates in place if they choose, but the city will no longer require they check guests’ vaccine cards.
The Broadway League has said it will maintain mask and vaccination requirements in all its theaters at least through April 30.
Adams’ decision comes as New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this week lifted the statewide mask mandate in schools, citing new federal guidelines and a sharp drop in COVID-19 infections.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late last month that most Americans can now safely take a break from wearing masks, including students in schools.
Adams, who took office earlier this year, has said the virus cannot control people’s lives and the city needs to get back to normal. The school mask mandate and Key2NYC vaccination rules were both imposed by his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
Story continues at: No more Mandates!