CARLE PLACE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Starting Wednesday, New York will follow the new Centers for Disease Control mask guidance.
But face coverings could still be required by individual business owners, causing confusion and even some anxiety, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday.
To mask or not to mask — that’s now the question for private business owners and those fully vaccinated.
“I feel comfortable with a mask. I’m fully vaccinated. My husband has got ailing condition,” said Yvone Belsky of Little Neck.
“I did put my mask on in the store, just for myself to make sure I’m safe. I came right out and took it off. Need I say more?” another person said.
“I still think we need to wear them. We don’t know the people around, what they have,” another person added.
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Many told Gusoff they’re not ready to unmask before herd immunity is reached, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the change will encourage more people to get the shot.
The ball is now in the court of private businesses.
“The staff will be required to wear masks for our own protection. We do deal with a lot of people every day. I’m fed up with masks, but I wanna be safety first,” Garden City business owner Mark Sarro said.
Some businesses like Starbucks and Target will drop mask requirements for vaccinated shoppers, abiding instead by an honor system.
That doesn’t always go well. For example, one man is wanted for threatening a Garden City Park store clerk who asked him to wear a mask.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is urging all residents to show respect.
“Independent businesses can make their own decisions and their own rules. I would ask, let’s not blame and shame. Let’s understand that everyone is coming from a different place, whether they are wearing a mask or not wearing a mask,” Curran said.
“It’s your own decision. If you feel uncomfortable wear a mask, if you’re fully vaccinated, your call,” one person said.
“I got my two shots already, but some still say you gotta wear it here and there and different places. Very confusing,” another person said.
Others said they don’t trust people to do the right thing.
“I think everyone is sick of wearing masks. They can’t wait to take it off,” one said.
Making masks a personal choice is causing anxiety.
“Some people are like, ‘Rip the mask off, I’m ready to go!’ But some people who are feeling that anxiety, and it’s more people than you would think, I would say just take it slowly. You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing if you’re not ready,” psychologist Dr. Susan Bartell said.
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Bartell said ramping up to wearing masks and social distancing was stressful and took adjustment. Don’t expect ramping down period to be much different.
The state Department of Health strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. New York’s guidance follows the CDC in recommending that immunocompromised people also continue to wear a mask and maintain social distance.
Masks will still be required on public transportation, in nursing homes, homeless shelters, schools, and health care facilities, at least until more New Yorkers are vaccinated.