New York state has lifted its indoor mask mandate as cases of the Omicron Covid variant plummetted by more than 90 per cent from their January peak.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday she would allow the state mandate to expire requiring masks at businesses without vaccination status checks.
“We’re in a new phase of the pandemic, and we need to keep being smart and using the tools we have to fight Covid.”
A mandate in New York City remains in place, and other cities and towns across the state would be responsible for setting their own rules on masking, she said.
Gov Hochul said face coverings will still be required in schools and childcare centres, state-run nursing homes, homeless shelters and healthcare centres.
“We hit our peak on January 7, but now we’ve noticed a 93 per cent drop in cases,” Gov Hochul said.
“That is exactly what we’ve been waiting for.”
Gov Hochul said she would review the mandate on masks in schools next month.
“We’re getting tests out so kids can come back safely from Midwinter break, and I expect to make an assessment on masks based on the data in early March,” she said.
Several neighbouring states including Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey signalled they would lift mask mandates earlier this week.