BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The clock is ticking down to the end of New York State’s mask mandate for fully vaccinated people.
Under CDC guidelines, people who have gotten their COVID-19 vaccinate no longer have to wear a face mask outdoors and in most indoor settings. Ultimately it is up to each business to decide what they will and won’t allow.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Tops announced the grocery store will allow vaccinated shoppers inside without a mask. Unvaccinated people must continue to wear theirs.
The Walden Galleria is also adopting the new guidelines. However, while vaccinated people can go into the mall mask-less, an official said they “strongly encourage” everyone to wear their mask because some stores and venues may have different rules.
“Businesses and organizations: they can set policies on masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated people,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “Grocery stores, movie theaters, restaurants and bars – they can say ‘we want you to wear a mask.’ That’s legal.”
But it’s not only business owners that are weighing their options; customers are also figuring out what’s best for them. Many we spoke with said despite being vaccinated, they plan to wear their masks in crowded areas.
People who haven’t been vaccinated still need to wear their masks indoors. Some we spoke with say this is the push they need to finally get their COVID shot.
While many business owners say they plan to use the honor system when allowing mask-less customers into their store, Gov. Cuomo has said owners and employees are allowed to ask for proof of vaccination.
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.