New Mask Guidelines

Photo includes text of: Wear a mask, wash your hands often and social distance while in UBMD offices.

Published May 19, 2021

With new COVID-19 guidelines from New York State, here's what you need to know when accessing care.

Masks are still required


While it is very promising news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health are allowing fully vaccinated individuals to no longer mask or social distance in many settings, healthcare settings is not one of them.

Per the announcement:

"Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the CDC's "Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People" for most business and public settings. Consistent with the CDC guidance, Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings will continue to follow State's existing COVID-19 health guidelines until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated."

When will that be lifted?

We're continually monitoring the situation and will update you and these guidelines as-needed.

This information may be updated at any time to reflect recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Department of Health (DOH) and Erie County DOH.

What settings can I go maskless in?

For detailed information, visit the New York State site or the CDC site for its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

If you haven't already, get vaccinated! You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your J&J shot or two weeks after the second Pfizer/Moderna shot. After those two weeks, you'll be safely able to enjoy most indoor and outdoor activities without your mask.

I'm fully vaccinated but not ready to go maskless anywhere. What should I do?

Continue to wear your mask! If you don't feel comfortable without a mask in outdoor or indoor settings, that's completely OK.

In the meantime, continue to watch the numbers in your area. If you notice a decrease after a few weeks, you may feel more comfortable dipping your toes into a low-risk outdoor gathering and going from there.

There is no timetable for this. You can adjust at your own pace.

For more information, Dr. Thomas Russo spoke with Yahoo! about anxiety around going maskless.

I'm not vaccinated, can I be maskless?

If unvaccinated, you should wear a mask at all times when indoors with people not in your household and outdoors when in close quarters with others. 

This is important as people who are vaccinated and could be immunocomprosmised could get COVID-19 from you and become sick. Additionally, as children under 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated, there is still a large portion of our population that still needs to be protected. Even if your children are not with you at an event, if you go maskless, you could bring it home to them.

It still rings true: Wear a Mask. Save a Life.