ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In accordance with CDC guidance on masking and distancing, Wegmans stores will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face coverings in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that New York state will adopt the new CDC guidelines that allow fully vaccinated Americans to go without masks in most situations. For New Yorkers, those guidelines went into effect Wednesday.
“In accordance with the latest CDC guidance, fully vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear a face covering in our stores,” a Wegmans spokesperson said Wednesday.
The spokesperson said this policy applies to stores in New York state.
Wegmans shoppers have been required to wear face coverings in stores since the early stages of the pandemic last year. In February, a Wegmans store was fined $1,000 by the Cayuga County Health Department for not enforcing the mask mandate.
At this time it is not clear if vaccine verification will be checked for customers at stores, or if it will be an honor system, like some other local businesses are doing:
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, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated. The CDC also no longer recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds.
“If you are vaccinated, you are safe,” Gov. Cuomo said Monday. “No masks, no social distancing.”
The governor said individual private venues still have the ability to add additional guidelines to existing state and federal guidance should they choose to do so.
“We took a couple of days to analyze what it would be,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We aligned it with our guidance, we’re announcing that today. We’re then giving vendors, local government notice today. It goes into effect Wednesday, so they have a day to make adjustments. I’m sure they’ll say it’s too fast, they need more than a day, but that’s where we are.”
The governor said Monday he expects that many people will continue to wear masks even if they are fully vaccinated as people adapt to this next phase of the pandemic.
“”This has gone beyond government rules and regulations,” Gov. Cuomo said. “People have inculcated this [mask] into their psyche. I’ve had more people ask me ‘are you saying I can’t wear a mask anymore? Because I still want to wear a mask.’ I suspect there will be a lot of people who are not just going to flick a switch and be over this. I think there is going to be lingering concern. And I think you’ll see a lot of people wearing masks going forward, but it is up to the private vendor, or venue.”
There are some caveats in the new CDC guidance. Officials encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones.
Masks will still be required on public transportation, in nursing homes, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, schools, and health care facilities.
According to the CDC, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
- You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
- You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
- You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
- You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a target date of May 19 for a “major reopening” initiative for New York state, including:
- Most capacity restrictions lifted for restaurants, museums, retail, offices, etc.
- Outdoor food and beverage curfew lifted Monday
- Indoor food and beverage curfew lifts May 31
- Outdoor gathering limit has increased to 500
- Indoor gathering limit increased to 250
- Indoor residential gathering limit increased to 50
- New York state’s adoption of CDC guidance on masking and distancing for fully vaccinated Americans