NEW YORK – Health officials have a warning for New Yorkers ahead of the holiday weekend ascases continue to climb statewide.
The city health department is strongly recommending New Yorkers mask up in public indoor settings this holiday weekend and get tested before gathering with loved ones, especially if you don’t know their vaccination status. The warning comes as many Broadway theaters are preparing to ease their own vaccine requirements
It was a quiet Friday at a COVID testing tent in Times Square, but Jared MacFarlane was staying diligent. He was one of the few getting tested there ahead of the holiday weekend.
“Since I’ve seen an uptick in numbers in New York, I’m just trying to be on my Ps and Qs, and I’m going to see a friend for her 30th birthday today, so don’t want that to be a celebration ruined by COVID,” MacFarlane told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
The city health department is urging New Yorkers to get tested before and after attending any gatherings this weekend and “certainly before choosing to remove your mask at a holiday gathering.”
FIND TESTING SITES: Click here for New York City’s testing site locator, including mobile sites and at-home appointments
City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer earlier in the week, “Make sure that you’re negative when you walk into your family gathering, and then of course, get tested in the following days to make sure that you weren’t exposed.”
While New York City is still at a low COVID alert level, cases are rising.
The latest data shows five neighborhoods have positivity rates over 10%, four of which are in Manhattan.
“Personally, right now, I don’t feel like I’m too likely to get COVID, but, you know, I don’t want to be spreading it for people who are more vulnerable than me,” MacFarlane said.
Meanwhile, some COVID restrictions in Broadway theaters.
The Broadway League announced Friday that many of its 41 theaters may no longer require proof of vaccination after April 30.
The League is, however, extending the current mask requirement for audiences through at least May 31.
“I think the masks help us feel relatively safe,” said John Kim, of California.
“Whatever it’s gonna take for us to keep the theaters open so that we can continue to enjoy shows,” said Stephanie Owens, of Seattle.
Wendy Campbell, from Canada, said getting rid of the vaccine mandate may keep her away from the theater.
“Depending on what the show was,” she said. “As seniors, I think we need to have that extra security.”
Broadway masking protocols for the summer will be announced in May.
For the holiday weekend, the health commissioner recommends getting tested 24-48 hours after gathering with loved ones.