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New York is set to drop its indoor mask mandate, joining other blue states in easing Covid rules.

todayFebruary 9, 2022

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Gov. Kathy Hochul will drop New York’s stringent indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, ending a requirement that businesses ask customers for proof of full vaccination or require mask wearing at all times, and marking a turning point in the state’s coronavirus response, according to three people briefed on her decision.

The decision will eliminate a rule that prompted legal and interpersonal clashes over mask wearing, especially in conservative parts of New York. It was scheduled to expire on Thursday and would have required renewing.

Ms. Hochul’s decision will let the mask mandate lapse just as a crushing winter surge in coronavirus cases is finally receding. But it was not yet clear whether the governor would renew or drop a separate mask mandate in New York schools, which is scheduled to expire in two weeks.

Democratic-led states from New Jersey to California have announced similar easings of restrictions this week, in a loosely coordinated effort that is the result of months of public-health planning, back-channel discussions and political focus groups that began in the weeks after the November election.

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