New York ends masks necessities on subways, buses and different public transport

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) logo is displayed on the side of a subway train in Manhattan, New York, June 2, 2021.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

New Yorkers will no longer be required to wear masks on subways, buses and other mass transit, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

Hochul said the decision to end the mandate takes effect immediately. The governor said New York is in a much stronger place as infections and hospitalizations fall. New boosters targeting the dominant Omicron subvariant BA.5. should also provide better protection against Covid, she said.

“We think we’re in a good place right now, especially if the New Yorkers take that boost. So we’re not just returning to a new normal, but a normal normal, and that’s what we’re striving for,” Hochul said during a news conference.

New York introduced mask requirements on public transport more than two years ago, when the city was the US epicenter of Covid. Many New Yorkers began ignoring the mandatory in the spring after near-universal compliance at the start of the pandemic.

Masks are still required in nursing homes and hospitals, Hochul said.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the Omicron boosters should offer better protection against infection because the vaccinations are now consistent with the dominant variant, although there is no data on the effectiveness of the vaccinations yet.

“If it has been more than two months since you had your last vaccination, you are 12 years of age or older you should get a booster and this time it may be a booster which we think people will get a lot out of offers more protection,” Bassett said.

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