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New York ends mask mandate for subways, buses and other 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 are no longer required to wear masks on public transit, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

Hochul said the decision to lift the mandate is based on declining infections, hospitalizations and the availability of new boosters that target the dominant omicron BA.5 subvariant.

“We think we’re in a good place right now, especially if New Yorkers take advantage of this reminder. That’s how we get back to not just a new normal, but a normal normal, and that’s what we are what we strive for,” Hochul said at a press conference.

New York instituted mask mandates on public transit more than two years ago when the city was the epicenter of Covid in the United States. Many New Yorkers began ignoring the mandate in the spring after near-universal compliance early in the pandemic.

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

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said omicron boosters should offer better protection against infections since the injections now match the dominant variant, although there is no no data yet on the effectiveness of the injections.

Covd hospitalizations in New York have fallen by more than 80% since the peak of the omicron surge in January.

This is breaking news. Please check for updates.

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