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De Blasio may lift outdoor mask requirement if COVID vaccine rates rise

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Don’t want to wear a mask on the beach this summer? Get your COVID-19 vaccine.

New Yorkers may be able to stop wearing masks outdoors by the beginning of summer — and other cumbersome restrictions may also be lifted — so long as more people get their shots, Mayor de Blasio said Thursday.

Asked specifically about the mask issue during a City Hall press briefing, he suggested that those rules will be in place through at least June – when the Big Apple hopes to hit his goal of fully vaccinating 5 million New Yorkers.

“We want to hold the line through June, so we’ll keep the masks on and we’ll do all the things we need to do,” Hizzoner said, explaining, “After that we’ll be able to reassess.”

Bill de Blasio says he might consider lifting masks outdoors in NYC if more New Yorkers get vaccinated.
Bill de Blasio says he might consider lifting masks outdoors in NYC if more New Yorkers get vaccinated.
Noam Galai/Getty Images

In an effort to incentivize more New Yorkers to get inoculated, de Blasio hinted that other coronavirus safety rules and restrictions could also disappear with higher vaccination rates.

“One of things we can say to people is if you want to get rid of masks, if you want to get rid of the social distancing, if you want to get rid of the restrictions — go get vaccinated,” said de Blasio.

People line up to get the COVID-10 vaccine in New York on April 20, 2021.
People line up to get the COVID-10 vaccine in New York on April 20, 2021.
Dan Herrick

However, de Blasio said, “We’re going to have to keep masks and restrictions in place until were 100 percent sure we’re out of the woods.”

“And the best way to know we’re out of the woods is to see those vaccination numbers go up and up and up,” he said.

People wait to enter the vaccine site at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on April 21, 2021.
People wait to enter the vaccine site at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on April 21, 2021.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

Outdoor mask mandates have become a hot topic in recent days, with many experts suggesting they may not be needed because the risk of catching the coronavirus in the open air is low.

De Blasio’s comments also come after The Post ran a front-page calling for all New Yorkers to get the vaccine so the city can reach herd immunity and life can return to normal.

If restrictions will be lifted based on the vaccination rate, Bill de Blasio said.
If restrictions will be lifted based on the vaccination rate, Bill de Blasio said.
Dan Herrick

More than 3.2 million New Yorkers, or just about 49 percent of the Big Apple’s adult population have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine since inoculation efforts began, according to the latest city data.

“Just with the number of people vaccinated so far, it’s just pushing down COVID and pushing down the cases and making the city safer,” de Blasio said during the briefing.

A woman smiles after getting her COVID-19 shot in Brooklyn on April 21, 2021.
A woman smiles after getting her COVID-19 shot in Brooklyn on April 21, 2021.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

City data shows that COVID-19-related hospitalizations and new reported cases in the Big Apple are continuing to trend downward.

Gotham’s COVID-19 infection rate on a seven-day rolling average was at 4.54 percent – “the lowest we’ve seen in a long, long time,” de Blasio said.

“Why? Because of vaccination,” he added. “Because we’re almost at 6 million vaccinations given in the city of New York. It is working.”

Data shows that COVID-related hospitalizations and new cases are trending downward in New York City.
Data shows that COVID-related hospitalizations and new cases are trending downward in New York City.
Matthew McDermott

The latest data also shows that on Tuesday, 167 people were admitted to city hospitals with suspected COVID-19 and 45 percent of them tested positive.

The city’s seven-day rolling average of new virus cases was at 1,964.

“This is very promising,” de Blasio said.

New Yorkers showing they've been vaccinated.
New Yorkers showing they’ve been vaccinated.
Dan Herrick

The mayor noted that “you can see the cause and effect really clearly here,” as a result of more and more vaccinations.

To date, New York City has administered more than 5.9 million coronavirus vaccine doses.

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