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To Mask, Or Not To Mask: That Is The Question Again For Those Fully Vaccinated

July 28, 2021

On July 27, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant.

Updated CDC Guidance

The updated CDC guidance adds the following recommendations:

  • Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission;
  • Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe illness or not fully vaccinated;
  • Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result; and
  • Universal indoor masking is recommended for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

New York State has not announced yet whether it will adopt this latest guidance from the CDC.

Current New York State Guidance

For now, New York State’s Implementing CDC Guidance (effective May 19, 2021) is still in effect, which, among other things, permits businesses (e.g., retail, food services, offices) to:

  • Allow fully vaccinated employees and/or patrons to be maskless inside or not be socially distanced, but
  • Require unvaccinated employees and/or patrons to continue to wear masks and be socially distanced.

What Does This Mean For Businesses In New York?

Businesses should monitor updates concerning New York State’s response to the CDC’s updated guidance and, in the meantime, review their protocols and policies to determine whether it makes sense for them to implement the new CDC guidance.

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