No more masks? De Blasio says lifting outdoor mask requirement possible if more get vaccinated

New York City park

Visitors to Washington Square Park wear their masks on their chins, Friday, March 26, 2021, in New York. A year after becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York and New Jersey are back atop the list of U.S. states with the highest rates of infection. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — Could New York City end its outdoor mask requirement in the near future? 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the idea of going maskless outdoors is possible if more people get vaccinated. 

With decreasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and nearly 6 million doses administered, the mayor was asked Thursday whether or not he sees a point where he can tell people wearing masks outdoors will not be necessary and whether or not he can use that as an incentive to get more people vaccinated.

The mayor said he assumes the city will “hold the line through June,” which is the goal month he has set to get 5 million New Yorkers vaccinated. 

“June is, you know, one of those times in the year that we’re used to sort of a reset moment every year as we get to the end of school, beginning of summer and all. We want to hold the line through June. So, we’ll keep, you know, the masks on and we’ll do all the things we need to do. After that we’ll be able to reassess,” de Blasio said.

He agreed that one of the things officials can say to people is that if they want to get rid of masks, social distancing and restrictions, they should get vaccinated.

“We’re going to have to keep masks and restrictions in place until we’re 100 percent sure we’re out of the woods, and the best way to know where out of the woods is to see those vaccination numbers go up and up and up,” the mayor said.

The mayor has previously advised New Yorkers, even those who have been vaccinated, to double mask at least through June out of concern over the presence of COVID-19 variants. To date, the city has administered 5,943,896 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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