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New Yorkers on CDC Guidelines on Masking Outdoors - Arcelia Martin

MEGAN ZEREZ: New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control say that, if you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask outdoors. Unless you’re in a crowd, that at a Yankees game or a concert. But after 13 months of the pandemic, and reports of variants circulating around the US, are New Yorkers really ready to go maskless? Arcelia Martin went to Morningside Park to find out.

ARCELIA MARTIN, BYLINE: I’m at the north end of Morningside Park. Raindrops slide off tulip leaves. People are beginning to move around. Runners. Dog Walkers. Kids on their way to school in multicolored rain boots.

Regardless of who they are or where they’re headed, most are wearing a mask.

Like Jonathan Lim. He’s sporting a bright blue one. He’s not so sure about ditching it just yet.

JONATHAN LIM: I still have made a decision on it and whether or not I will continue to wear a mask outside. But for now, I'm going to keep doing it just because it's a habit that feels good and I'm vaccinated. But I'm not, you know, 100 percent feeling safe.

MARTIN: In the middle of the park, I meet Rajesh Jayaraman. He’s walking alone and not wearing a mask, until I approach him. When it comes to the new guidelines, he said, he’s all for it.

RAJESH JAYARAMAN: I like it. I'm vaccinated. And I'm cautiously getting out and seeing, you know, when nobody's around to take the mask off and you you figure out what the risk is and and slowly loosen up. I think it's I think it's a good idea.

MARTIN: But for some, the new guidelines don’t answer all the questions people have about risk. Especially when it comes to navigating a big city..

GRIGGS: While I think it’s great, it’s a little challenging to figure out how to apply that in New York City, when you’re still running into people, meeting people.

MARTIN: Joyce Griggs is a top administrator at the Manhattan School of Music. Part of her daily work is determining what’s safest for the college’s faculty, staff and students.

GRIGGS: It’s something we discuss all the time and try to provide clear messaging. Um, but there is a lot up for interpretation.

ROBERT RAVENSCRAFT: I always carry it around my chin, in case there is a large group of people. Just for their safety and my safety as well.

MARTIN: Robert Ravenscraft likes to work out and doesn’t love wearing a mask while doing it.

So he’s excited about the new guidelines --and is fully vaccinated. But for now, he’s still going to keep a mask on him when he goes for a run.

MARTIN: Emmanuele Desantis is standing in front of the pond, on the south end of the park. - Desantis has a palm full of bread crumbs.

EMMANUELE DESANTIS: “We were feeding the ducks and were bringing my little son to school. He goes to school right here. Hi good morning. Hello. His name is Matea. Matea? Hi Matea. Hi!

MARTIN: Desantis told me he’s vaccinated, he said it’s why he’s not wearing a mask.

MARTIN: As a New Yorker, do you feel safe now that you’re fully vaccinated?

DESANTIS:Yes I do, I feel very safe.

MARTIN: As of this morning, more than a third of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

Arcelia Martin, Columbia Radio News.


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