Mixed responses to the end of the term of indoor masks – Huntington Now
A day after the state’s requirement for Covid-19 masks in public indoor spaces was lifted, residents of Huntington had different responses.
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced the end of the mask’s mandate beginning Thursday, though it will still be in place for schools.
It is “not unreasonable to remove the mask mandate” because infections are falling, thanks to vaccinations against Covid-19, said Dr. Adrian Popp, head of the infectious disease department at Huntington Hospital.
At CVS in Greenlawn on Thursday afternoon, an unscientific investigation found 11 patrons, 8 of them masked, the rest unmasked. Some wore their masks as they approached the store, while others put them on when entering. A few others immediately removed them as they left the store.
A few customers have said outside the store that they keep them on for different reasons, but mainly because they are afraid of a new variant of Covid-19, or to avoid catching diseases such as flu or cold.
One woman said the masks irritated her skin but she would continue to wear them until, as she put it categorically, “it’s all gone”.
Another said she was determined to stay healthy and that wearing a mask was not a burden given the high price many pay after catching Covid-19. She said masking protected herself and her family and she would continue to wear masks until she was sure the disease was under control.
An auto parts store owner said he was glad the warrant was gone, saying it was unnecessary as the disease “is no worse than the flu”.
In downtown Huntington, a store owner said about half of his customers wore masks on Thursday. One store visited had 5 out of 7 masks; a pizzeria had only one of four masked customers.
Another woman who was masked while shopping at a grocery store said three customers told her she did not have to wear a mask, but replied that she had a cold and did not want to spread germs. They all responded with a smile, she said, and wished her a good day. Another store she visited on Thursday had a sign saying masks were needed, but when she entered the store no one else was wearing them.
In downtown stores, many employees appeared to be masked, although some of their customers were not.
And a handful of stores have retained signs telling customers to mask up to enter their stores.
Dr Popp said the omicron variant was disappearing quickly, just as quickly as it had arrived.
“What’s changing is the positivity rate, which is dropping quite quickly, and that was expected from an infectious disease perspective,” he said. “Do we still need the masks? If you balance the protection with the risks of contracting the disease, it becomes much smaller.
The outbreak is waning, he said. The next phase is endemic, he said. “Endemic means you are going to see cases of Covid occurring over an extended period of time, without causing a surge. That’s what endemic really means.
“Will the Covid disappear from our communities. The answer is probably no. Covid will always be a part of human disease in our community,” he said.