Mayor Adams announces the next phase of the pandemic response

March 4, 2022

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Mayor Adams suspends keys to NYC, removes mask requirement in NYC public schools for K-12 students

Sweeping announcement comes after data shows NYC on ‘low’ alert level

More than 17 million vaccines have already been administered in New York City

Adams: “We’re open for business and NYC has its groove back.”

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced several changes to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that will continue to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers while promoting the city’s economic recovery. With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations falling rapidly, and more than 17 million vaccine doses administered, Mayor Adams announced the suspension of the Key to NYC program and the lifting of mask requirements in city public schools for K-12 students.

“Two years ago, New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic, but thanks to vaccinating and empowering New Yorkers, we’ve made tremendous progress,” he said New York Mayor Eric Adams. “I’ve said time and time again that the numbers and the science will guide us as we continue to recover and rebuild and now New York City is back and immunizations are why we’re back. New Yorkers should get out and enjoy our amazing city. The fight may not be over yet, but we are clearly winning the war. We are open for business and New York City has its groove back.”

From Monday, March 7th:

  • Key to NYC Rules are suspended. Indoor venues, including restaurants, fitness facilities and entertainment areas, will no longer need to seek proof of vaccinations before entering. Businesses previously covered by the Key to NYC rules will still have the flexibility to require proof of vaccination or a mask indoors if they choose.
  • mOn public school campuses, questions are no longer required for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. While these public school children will be able to remove their masks, schools will continue to follow strict COVID-19 protocols if they so choose, including increased ventilation, daily screening to ensure those with symptoms are not present come to school, and a test kit distribution. Masks are still required for all facilities with children under age 5 (where no portion of the population is yet eligible for the vaccine), including programs completed by the New York City Department of Education with 3- and 4-year-old children, as well as 3K and 4K – Classrooms in district schools.

Mayor Adams also announced today that all other COVID-19 mandates remain in effect. The rules still require workers to be vaccinated unless they have received reasonable accommodation from their employer.

Additionally, Mayor Adams released a new color-coded system that tracks COVID-19 alerts and informs New York City residents about the risks they face in New York City. This new system will help New Yorkers better understand the current COVID-19 risk and how best to protect themselves and others based on the current risk. The system consists of four alert levels that outline precautionary and recommended actions for individuals and governments based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Community Burden Indicator.

COVID-19 Alert Levels:

Alert level: Low

  • There is a low spread of the COVID-19 community.
  • Precautions: To stay updated get vaccinated and empowered against COVID-19; consider wearing a face mask in indoor public spaces where vaccination status is unknown; and get tested if you have symptoms or are at high risk for poor health outcomes. Basic public health precautions, such as good hand hygiene and staying home when sick, should be followed.
  • Recommended Government Actions: maintaining current vaccination mandates from employers and schools; Face masks in settings with vulnerable people and where vaccination status is not checked, e.g. B. Healthcare facilities, meeting environments and public transportation; Consider mandating up-to-date vaccination status in specific situations when there is a sustained increase in cases or a new variant of concern.

Alert level: medium

  • There is a medium spread of the COVID-19 community.
  • Precautions: To stay updated are vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19; Wear a mask in indoor public spaces where vaccination status is unknown. Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed, have recently traveled, or attended large gatherings; stay home if you are sick; keep hands clean. Take extra precautions — like avoiding crowded indoor and outdoor areas — if you’re at high risk because of age, underlying medical condition, an unvaccinated individual, or if you interact with high-risk individuals.
  • Recommended Government Actions: Continue action from Low Alert. Consider mandating face masks in additional high-risk environments where it is crowded and distancing cannot be maintained, such as B. in schools. Consider reintroducing the Key to NYC requirements if the number of cases increases sustainably or a new, worrying variant emerges.

Alert level: High

  • There is high COVID-19 community spread. The pressure on the healthcare system in New York City is significant.
  • Precautions: To stay updated are vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19; Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and in crowded outdoor areas. Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed, have recently traveled, or attended large gatherings; stay home if sick/exposed; and keep your hands clean. Consider avoiding higher-risk activities, such as B. Crowded indoor gatherings.
  • Recommended Government Actions: Continue action from medium alert level. increasing testing and vaccination capacity; ensure adequate vaccination, testing and isolation capacity in community facilities; require face masks in all indoor public spaces.

Alert level: Very high

  • There is a very high spread of the COVID-19 community. Health services are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
  • Precautions: To stay updated are vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19; wear a mask in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor areas; get tested; Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are ill/exposed; and keep your hands clean. Avoid unnecessary activities and crowded spaces. Maximize physical distancing in all public settings, including the workplace.
  • Recommended Government Actions: Continue action from high alert. Ensure meeting places are less crowded; Consider imposing restrictions on non-essential activities, offering telecommuting and housing to keep essential functions (like health care and schools) running.

“Throughout the pandemic, New Yorkers have stepped up and used the tools to meet the challenges of the past two years,” he said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “With the steady decline in cases and hospitalizations from the omicron peak, we are now safely entering a new phase of the pandemic. I want to thank Mayor Eric Adams for his continued partnership as we work together to fight the pandemic and keep our schools and businesses both safe and open.”

“The governor and I have been saying the whole time — we believe in the science, we look at the numbers, we follow the data, and New Yorkers, when we asked you to step up, you did it,” he said new York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin. “Today we turn to the page of this chapter in our fight against COVID-19. New York will have the best comeback story the world has ever seen. Our economic recovery begins now, and the governor and I stand ready to show the rest of the world why New York is the best place on earth.”

“Our new COVID alert system gives New Yorkers a roadmap on how to reduce their own risk if we see another surge or increase in transmission,” he said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A Chokshi. “COVID Alert will keep New Yorkers updated, including on actions to be expected from the city government. Looking ahead to the coming months, we must continue to do everything we can to prevent unnecessary suffering from COVID-19.”

“Our ‘Stay Safe, Stay Open’ plan has worked. Cases are down 99 percent and we haven’t had to close a single school since January,” he said Chancellor of the New York Department of Education, David C. Banks. “Making masks optional gives families and educators choice while remaining alert through a high level of testing and following the advice of our public health experts and the CDC.”

“We’re winning the fight against COVID because New Yorkers have stepped up and vaccinated — 96 percent of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose. We have continued to prove that our schools are the healthiest place for our students,” he said dr Ted Long, executive director, NYC Test & Trace Corps; and Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “I want to thank every New Yorker who has protected their loved ones and neighbors by getting vaccinated – you deserve it – and recognize the incredible work of our health heroes in making these milestones possible.”

“New York City’s restaurant and nightlife industry has been devastated by COVID-19, and for the past two years these small businesses have endured ever-changing pandemic mandates that have presented significant challenges to their operations, yet they have fought hard to persevere and persevere, nourishing and serving our city during this time of crisis,” he said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Now, as our city achieves high immunization rates and low infection rates, and as we move into the next phase of our city’s recovery, we must continue to operate safely and wisely, changing mandates as the situation evolves. For that reason, we are filled with optimism and the careful consideration of many in solidarity with Mayor Eric Adams, public health officials and community leaders in rescinding the city’s temporary immunization record for indoor dining as an important step in revitalizing our resilient city.”

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