New York lifts indoor mask mandates as COVID-19 cases drop
- New York is among the several states to lift mask mandates
- The state governor Kathy Hochul said COVID-19 cases in New York had fallen 93 per cent
- School children, however, continue to wear masks
The state governor Kathy Hochul said that she would not extend the indoor mask mandate for business. The ongoing mandate expires on Thursday. Hochul, however, said that wearing masks is now an individual decision.
But, wearing masks at schools remains mandatory in New York. Her announcement came after several states lifted mask mandates required to follow in indoor places and schools, as coronavirus infections continued to decline in the US.
The mask mandate withdrawals signalled a move towards a policy of accepting COVID-19 as part of everyday life.
Hochul said coronavirus cases in New York had fallen 93 per cent since early January, adding that the state was "trending in a very, very good direction."
"That is why we are now approaching a new phase in this pandemic," she told reporters.
In California, wearing masks indoors for vaccinated residents is set to end on February 15. Unvaccinated people will still need to wear masks indoors though, said Governor Gavin Newsom.
In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown has said that she will lift mask requirements before March 31. Delaware governor John Carney announced that his state's indoor mask mandate will expire on Friday and that masks in schools will end by March 31.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy led the way for the spate of rollbacks, announcing that children and staff would not need to wear masks in schools from March 7.
Connecticut quickly took followed the suit, with Ned Lamont saying he was recommending that school boards drop mandatory mask-wearing in schools after February 28.
Though these states lifted the mask mandates, individual school boards can still take decisions related to wearing masks in schools.