New York is FINALLY lifting COVID-19 mask orders for public transit – months after millions of residents shed face coverings
- New York State has lifted its mask orders for public transit – months after national orders were lifted in April
- The move was announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday at an event where she also received a COVID-19 booster shot
- Many residents have already given up face coverings in recent months, with some even saying they were unaware the orders will still be in place
- Daily Covid infections have fallen by 10% in New York over the past week and the expected summer BA.5 surge never materialised
New York State has finally lifted mask orders for all public transportation — a decision that comes months after many ditched their face coverings despite mandates from top officials.
Kathy Hochul, who took over as governor last August after Andrew Cuomo was ousted, announced the repeal of the order during an event in New York City on Wednesday, where she also received the recently made available Omicron booster.
However, many New Yorkers had already given up using masks. Some Empire State residents even took to Twitter to mention they didn’t even know they were still necessary – as face covering use was sparse and rules weren’t enforced.
The move comes as some officials are optimistic the nation can avoid an autumn and winter spike in Covid this year – after devastating outbreaks ravaged the US in the previous two years. The feared BA.5 summer surge never materialized and now the experts with the Omicron-specific boosters are hoping that the virus will be brought under control.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (pictured) announced Wednesday that the mask order on public transit in New York state would be lifted
Mask wearing in New York transit was already sparse. Some residents said they didn’t even know the orders still existed as they were largely ignored and unenforced. Pictured: People ride the subway without masks on September 7, 2022
“As of today, masks are optional,” Hochul said.
She continued: ‘[The masks have] was always a visible reminder that something is not normal here and it was there for the right reason. It protected health.
“We’re in a very different place than we were.”
Face coverings are still required in healthcare facilities and nursing homes. Individual private facilities are allowed to set mask and vaccine requirements for themselves.
Previous research found that mask-wearing on public transit in and around New York City has reached a pandemic low in recent months.
Some even said on Twitter that they didn’t know mask orders were even active anymore.
“People still wore them?” asked on Twitter user.
‘Bruh, I wasn’t wearing a mask the whole time and no one said anything?’ said another.
Others mentioned how rare mask wearing had become in recent months.
“I’ve seen fewer than 20 mask wearers on the subway in the last week alone. Nobody wears masks on the train anymore, except for a very small handful of people,” said one user.
“Shoot, even in the taxis I haven’t seen a driver with a mask in over 3 months. It’s been so long.”
Covid cases in New York have fallen 28 percent over the past two weeks, with the Empire state now averaging 3,981 cases a day.
While many feared this summer would be hit by a Covid surge fueled by the BA.5 variant, there has never been a sharp rise in cases.
Daily case numbers reached around 7,600 a day over the summer, barely enough to match the heights reached by previous outbreaks of the virus.
Curiously, the state maintained its mask orders despite the absence of an active threat from the virus.
The CDC’s blanket mask order for public transportation in America was overturned by a federal judge in April.
A few individual places chose to uphold the orders, including New York. However, mask orders had been withdrawn basically everywhere in America in the months since.