The commissioner of health and mental hygiene for New York City has issued an advisory recommending the public wear high-quality face masks indoors or in crowded outdoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.
City officials say the advisory has been issued due to “unusually high concurrent spikes” of seasonal illnesses and COVID-19 and increased levels of hospitalization.
“The holiday season is about togetherness and there is a way to gather safely – even as respiratory viruses in our city are unusually high. It starts with protecting yourself. Vaccination and boosters are critical but so are common sense precautions like masking when indoors or among crowds and staying home if you don’t feel well. Also, get tested before getting together, and get treated quickly if you test positive,” Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the health commissioner, said in a statement.
The city is also recommending citizens receive the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequent boosters, along with the annual flu shot, before the Christmas holiday.
The advisory is not a binding mandate, but officials in Los Angeles have said they are actively considering reinstating an indoor mask mandate if COVID-19 infection levels rise high enough.
The state of New York lifted its public transportation mask mandate in September, almost five months after a federal judge overturned the federal mask mandate for transportation.