Mixed Mask Mentality: NYers split on whether or not they’ll fully ditch their masks

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks both outdoors and indoors in most scenarios (with some limitations).

And while the new guidance is a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, not everyone is on the same page about the role a mask will play in their own lives

New Yorker Alex Assad can’t wait to toss his mask in the trash.

“If they said tomorrow, we could do it, I’m ready to do it,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control said Thursday fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks.

But in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet given the green light.

Mask etiquette is tricky right now. Not everyone is vaccinated. And even some who are prefer to keep their faces covered. 

“I’m not ready yet. I’m still afraid of it. I’m older. I’m 69 years old. I don’t want to play with it,” Morningside Heights resident Ted Gregory said.

New York City psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere said a hesitation to the remove the mask is normal.

“Anyone who is feeling anxious or scared about taking their masks off, I have to tell them as a psychologist that it is absolutely a normal emotion. And it is appropriate, and many people feel that way,” he said.

“I would love to be able to ditch this thing, but not yet,” Gregory said.

Dr. Gardere said it’s important to respect people’s choices.

“You shouldn’t make fun of them. You shouldn’t try to correct them. You shouldn’t ask them what they are doing,” he said. “They are doing what makes them feel comfortable.”

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but helps clear the way for reopening workplaces and schools.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says: “We have all longed for this moment.”

PIX11’s Corey Crockett and the Associated Press contributed.

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