New York health department once again advises masking indoors as respiratory illnesses spread

Officials urge what they call "common sense precautions" against getting sick.

Updated: December 9, 2022 - 3:34pm

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Health officials in New York City are once again advising the public to don face masks while indoors, the return of a divisive health suggestion amid a surge of respiratory viruses around the country. 

The New York City Health Department said in a press release that though "vaccination and boosters are critical" in the fight against respiratory diseases including COVID-19, "so are common sense precautions like masking when indoors or among crowds and staying home if you don’t feel well."

"Also, get tested before getting together, and get treated quickly if you test positive," the release said.

In its official health advisory, the city said that residents should wear masks "at all times when in an indoor public setting, including inside stores, offices, lobbies, hallways, elevators, public transportation, schools, child care facilities, and other public shared spaces, and when in a crowded outdoor setting," regardless of their vaccination status. 

The city urged residents to seek out "higher-quality masks, such as KN95 and KF94 masks."

Masking policies were often explosively divisive over the course of the COVID-19 crisis, with many health authorities mandating them and many critics pushing back against what they argued were ineffective and inconvenient mitigation measures.