New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was given a week to review the CDC recommendation that fully vaccinated persons wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or very high transmission of COVID-19. This is because the rapidly spreading delta variant of COVID-19 has forced a change. The recommendation was not made by the mayor or his health commissioner, despite ample time. “Ducking” is the formal legal term.

Although it’s our recommendation, unlike the Health Department, we do not have the power to issue a mandate. This is the best way for compliance. New Yorkers are well-versed in COVID-19 and many New Yorkers are aware of the benefits. Those who have been vaccinated (de Blasio recently marked 10,000,000 doses) are already wearing their masks again. City Hall’s decision would only be helpful

Gov. Andrew Cuomo states he is in agreement with the CDC. However, he cannot impose a new rule for masks unless the Legislature grants him this power. Which they aren’t going to. De Blasio fought for authority to be returned to Albany for a year. He has it. Use it now. Requiring masking now will increase the chance that this COVID-19 wave will pass more quickly and we can return to naked faces indoors soon.

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Both the governor and mayor have made it clear that private employers should be vaccinated (as President Biden has). However, they have only made small progress towards this goal with their own workforces. They settled for a weaker vax or weekly-test option which was rejected by some unions. Cuomo went all the way to mandate vax for the small number of patients who are treated in state-run hospitals.