NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s indoor mask mandate went into effect at 12 a.m. Monday, but it’s actually more nuanced than that.
If an indoor space has a mandatory vaccination protocol in place then masks are not required by the state. But if a business chooses to let customers or employees inside without proof of vaccination, the mask requirement applies.
Because New York City has its own vaccination rules, there will be some places where there’s really not much change.
If you’re at a Broadway show or an event at Madison Square Garden, they’re already doing vaccination and ID checks. They’re exempt from the governor’s mask mandate, although they have the option of having their own mask policy.
It’s a similar story for gyms. The city already requires a vaccine check for anyone working out. So that gives the gym the option to have a mask-free indoor space.
Indoor dining is also minimally affected in the five boroughs because there was already a mandatory vaccination policy from the city for both diners and staff. Elsewhere in the state is mask on except when you’re at your table.
If you’ve been shopping without a mask that probably ends Monday. I haven’t visited a single store that’s done a vaccine and ID check. Without it, any shopping mall, supermarket, drug store or any other indoor public space now falls under the governor’s mask requirement.
And the biggest change may be at work. Whether you work in an office or a factory, unless your company has turned away employees who aren’t vaccinated, then it’s masks on unless you’re in a room by yourself.
In theory, this could get shaken up if the city is successful in implementing a vaccination mandate for all private businesses. But that’s a story for another day.
There are some industry specific guidelines from the governor. The state encourages hair salons to go to mandatory vaccination. But if they don’t, customers are allowed to take their masks off for as long as is necessary for the service they’re receiving.
And the governor made it clear that her order applies to religious gatherings.
The Brooklyn Diocese is among those responding. The church has not mandated vaccinations, so it says masks will be required effective immediately.
Bishop Robert Brennan says that this is action that comes with the safety of churchgoers in mind.