On May 17, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will adopt the CDC’s new masking guidance, no longer requiring fully vaccinated individuals to mask or social distance when outdoors or indoors, except in certain crowded settings or venues.
As more people become fully vaccinated for COVID-19, our community is regaining a sense of normalcy. With events and sporting games starting to resume, what does this mean for those planning on attending? Melissa Bronstein, Senior Director of Infection Prevention & Control at Rochester Regional Health, talks about what is safe and when to follow protocols while at an event.
Although new guidance allows for less mask-wearing for those who are vaccinated, there are still certain situations in which people should wear a mask.
During an event with both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, all attendees should wear a mask whenever they are indoors or in a crowded space, such as in line at a concession stands. Many venues are encouraging fans to continue to wear a mask at all times, to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Socially-distanced outdoor events are low-risk situations for spreading COVID-19, and for vaccinated people, it is even lower-risk. Be mindful of washing and sanitizing your hands, as the virus can still spread,” said Melissa Bronstein.
Every venue may have varying protocols, so if you plan to attend an event be sure to check with the venue on what to expect. For example, Frontier Field, the home of the Rochester Red Wings, is creating two sections in their stands: one for fully vaccinated individuals, and one for unvaccinated individuals.
“In the unvaccinated section, there will be “fan pods” that will allow for 1-8 people in the same group to be together. Each group will need to wear their masks and have an enforced 6 feet between them,” said Dan Mason, general manager of the Rochester Red Wings. “For vaccinated fans, we still encourage mask-wearing unless they are in eating or drinking in their seat.”
Remember: unvaccinated people should continue to mask at all times when around others.Read more on masking guidelines
For indoor events at a size of 250 people or more, it is recommended that all attendees wear their masks.
When attending indoor events that exceed this capacity limit, unvaccinated folks and those with unknown vaccination status must remain 6 feet apart, and masks will be required for when not eating or drinking while seated. New York State continues to require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for anyone unvaccinated, over the age of four, attending an indoor event of over 250 people.
If fully vaccinated, individuals may sit closer together and masks are optional. However, proof of vaccination will be required.
Any unvaccinated individual, including those who have not yet had their second dose of a Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, should wear a mask and practice social distancing, whether indoors or outdoors.
“The same safety protocols remain: wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash your hands and sanitize regularly. Be sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and certainly do not forget to wash your hands before eating,” said Bronstein.
Fully vaccinated individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination at events to be considered vaccinated. Proof of vaccination can be in paper or digital form. Those living in New York State can download digital proof of vaccination on New York State’s website.
Masking protocols may differ from venue to venue, so be sure to check the guidelines provided by the event venue you plan to attend.
In New York State, those under the age of 16 who have not received their vaccine may accompany fully-vaccinated adults in the vaccinated section of an event venue.Safety recommendations for unvaccinated kids
For those with underlying health conditions who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, speak with your primary care provider before heading outdoors without a mask on.
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