NY to adopt CDC guidelines for masks, social distancing starting May 19

Vaccinated people will be allowed to ditch the face masks and social distancing requirement in many places across New York state beginning May 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.

"Effective Wednesday, New York state will adopt the CDC's new mask and social distancing guidance for vaccinated people," Cuomo said during a briefing on the pandemic. "Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask. Masks will still be required on public transit, in schools, and some communal settings. Private venues may require masks."

Last week, in a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. Buy it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this is the right move.

"I think it's balanced. Now we're going to watch carefully, always, we're going to watch the data," de Blasio said. "If we think something needs to be adjusted, we'll say it and we'll work with the CDC and the state but right now I think it's good guidance."

The CEO of the Partnership for New York City, a business leadership organization, said removing masks is a critical step for rebuilding the economy. 

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!

"This is really going to start to bring people back — it creates a sense of normalcy and security that you just can't have when everybody is wearing a mask," Kathryn Wylde said.

She added that the city's economic recovery depends on workers returning to their offices and feeling comfortable there. She also said the new guidance could help with the vaccination rate.

"Removing the mask on vaccinated people is an incentive for everyone to get vaccinated," Wylde said.

The adaption of the CDC guidelines coincides with a major reopening across the tristate area on Wednesday with most capacity restrictions lifted.

Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

The most recent changes and those still slated to occur:

Outdoor food and beverage curfew lifted Monday.

Indoor food and beverage curfew lifted May 31. 

The outdoor gathering limit is increased to 500. The indoor gathering limit is increased to 250. Indoor residential gathering limits have increased to 50. 

24-hour subway service returned Monday. 

New York's total COVID hospitalizations were 1,581 as of Sunday. Of the 101,173 tests reported, 1,278 were positive (1.26% of total). There were 11 deaths.

RELATED: Despite CDC guidance, some aren't ready to give up masks

With The Associated Press.