Mayor Bill de Blasio issued additional COVID-19 guidelines in anticipation of the omicron variant reaching New York City, though the mayor said he will not yet reinstate an indoor mask mandate.
The newest variant of the coronavirus has yet to be detected in New York City, though it is expected to reach the city within a matter of days. In preparation for this new variant and a surge in cases nearing the holiday season, mayor de Blasio recently issued an indoor mask advisory. The advisory strongly encourages all New Yorkers to mask up indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
Despite the advisory, the mayor said in a recent statement reinstating a mask mandate remains an option but it is not one that city officials are currently considering.
“We did put it out the mask advisory to say formally in a way more than we’ve done previously, it’s time to use the masks in a lot of settings, but the key strategy is vaccination. If something changes, of course mask mandate is an option, but it’s not one we’re using right now,” said de Blasio.
The mayor cited New York’s low hospitalization rate as another reason for holding off on an indoor mask mandate.
With vaccination as the focus, de Blasio recently expanded the city’s vaccine requirements to include childcare and early prevention workers. The new mandate will require these 102,000 workers to get vaccinated before the Dec. 20 deadline.