‘Mask or Vax’ rule lifted, but that doesn’t mean there are no masks

This means shops and theaters can still ask you to mask up, and some plan to do so. Broadway theaters will continue to require masks and proof of vaccination until at least April 30, according to Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, a trade association whose more than 700 members include owners and producers of theater.

Will New York restaurants still ask for proof of vaccination?

Yes. A policy called “Key to NYC” has required restaurants to verify customers’ proof of vaccinations since last summer, unless restaurants are providing take-out or delivery-only food. Mayor Eric Adams renewed “Key to NYC” on Tuesday, according to a City Hall spokesperson.

“Key to NYC” applies to everything from aquariums to zoos, as well as commercial event spaces, hotel meeting rooms and indoor stadiums, among others.

Under “Key to NYC,” masks can come off if the owners or operators of those places allow it. But in practice, many cultural institutions require masks in addition to proof of vaccination. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, says visitors must wear their masks and have received either two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A spokesman for the Met – which calls employees back to their offices three days a week, starting Monday – said it has no plans to change its visitor policy at this time.

Apartment buildings, which were covered by Hochul’s mandate, will have to decide whether to continue requiring masks in common areas like lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms. The city does not have a mask-wearing requirement in apartment buildings.

So what’s up?

You don’t have to wear your mask in stores if the owners say you don’t have to (and are fully vaccinated). The same goes for offices: if your office allows you to go mask-free some or all of the time, you can.

This only applies if you’ve had your shots. If you are not vaccinated, you must always wear a mask whenever you are in a public space, in accordance with municipal regulations. About 86% of adult New York residents and 76% of residents of all ages are fully immunized.

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