Cuomo: Local governments should adopt CDC masking suggestion, mandate vaccines for some workers
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s advising local governments to adopt guidance that once again recommends indoor masking, even for vaccinated people, in places where COVID-19 rates are high.
The recommendation was first introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week in response to the Delta variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people.
During a press briefing Monday morning, Cuomo also said localities should consider mandatory vaccines for public-facing workers, including teachers, in those high COVID-rate areas. The governor says he cannot make a statewide mandate without it being state law.
"I believe school districts should say today teachers — vaccine or test if you are in a CDC high-risk area, the red or the yellow zones. I think they should say that today to the teachers in this current situation," Cuomo said. "Why shouldn’t the teacher be vaccinated and if the teacher doesn’t wanna be vaccinated fine but then don’t be in front of a classroom."
Cuomo also suggested private businesses only admit vaccinated customers. In NYC, Broadway theaters will be requiring both vaccinations and masks when the theaters reopen in a few weeks.
State data from the week of July 19 showed the infection rate across the state was 4 per 100,000 people who were fully vaccinated, and 17 per 100,000 unvaccinated people. For hospitalizations, the state reported .19 per 100,000 fully vaccinated, and 1.25 per unvaccinated.
"If you are unvaccinated, the delta variant should be a major concern to you and you should be worried about it," Cuomo said.
The CDC recommends fully-vaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of "substantial" or high transmission based on emerging evidence on the variant. Monroe County met the mark for substantial transmission on Sunday.
Monroe County leaders announced Monday masks are recommended for everyone who goes to an indoor facility. The county will also mandate masks for all county workers effective Tuesday.
Erie County is one of those counties with a "substantial" transmission rate and as a result, our Buffalo area affiliate reported any employee, vendor, or visitor entering an Erie County building must wear a face mask, regardless of vaccination status. The move was made on Saturday.
New York State employees, including state-run hospital workers, are already facing a mandate. State employees will face regular testing if they don’t get the shot, while there is no testing option for the hospital workers.
Some local county leaders told us they would not mandate the vaccine. Cuomo said if local governments do not act, the state will have to act.
"People are going to be upset no matter what you do, show leadership," Cuomo said.
If COVID cases continue to climb, Cuomo said nursing home workers could also face a vaccine mandate.
This is a developing story, stay with News10NBC for updates.