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The city’s top doctor says he will keep wearing his mask in most indoor public spaces — even after New York adopted new federal guidance saying people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to.
“Personally, while I am fully vaccinated, I’ll be keeping my mask on indoors, in almost all settings,” Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefing.
“When I put it on, I’ll be thinking of the sense of community and the social norms, particularly around masking and distancing that helped us get to this very hopeful stage of the pandemic.”
Chokshi — who contracted COVID-19 and received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson’s jab — says he recommends other vaccinated Big Apple residents wear masks indoors as well, until an unspecified higher number of New Yorkers get their shots.
“I do recommend continued mask use in many indoor settings, until even more people are vaccinated. Until even more people get vaccinated across New York City, it does make sense for us to keep up some of the norms that we’ve established around masking in those shared indoor spaces.”
Some public officials have received backlash for continuing to mask up even after the new guidance came in — with critics arguing that they should be setting an example by demonstrating the benefits of vaccination, with only half of the US population receiving a shot so far.
President Biden and Vice President Harris have both been spotted in recent days wearing face masks out in public. Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also declared her plans to keep her mask on.
De Blasio on Tuesday said that when New Yorkers get a COVID-19 vaccine they “win freedom” to go unmasked in various spaces, but it’s reasonable for people to “exercise caution.”
“If an individual thinks it’s a good idea to keep a mask on, they have that right,” the mayor said, in response to a question from The Post. “And I believe that abundance of caution is really smart, if you’re going to constantly be in settings combining vaccinated and unvaccinated people.”
The CDC first announced last week that vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask, except in certain situations like on public transportation, congregate settings like homeless shelters, and in health-care facilities. Private businesses can also choose to still mandate masks.
After initially refusing to give a green light to the CDC’s guidance in a confusion-causing delay, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that the Empire State will adopt the new CDC guidance starting Wednesday.
Vaccinated New York State residents can go maskless in offices, retail shops, hair salons and gyms, so long as those businesses approve — but will be required to wear face coverings while on public transportation, in jails, homeless shelters, nursing homes and schools.
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