NYC lifts tot mask mandate for all outdoor spaces

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Daycare tots and teachers in the city are now allowed to shed their face masks — outside, at least.

The city Health Department issued the new edict Friday, freeing up the toddlers and staffers who could previously only nix their masks outdoors while school premises, thus giving a break just to the ones lucky enough to have on-site playgrounds.

The new move now allows for mask removal for all tykes and their teachers in such places as public parks and playgrounds.

The kiddies and staffers still have to wear their COVID-19 masks indoors.

“Risk of transmission outside is low,” Michael Lanza, a Department of Health rep, told The Post on Friday. “That allows us to make masks optional when outdoors even when children in child care may interact with those outside their program.”

Chloe Pashman, an education director of a preschool in The Bronx, told The Post, “This is a welcome change — though it should have been in place years ago.

Toddler sits on ground next to sign that reads "no more masks."
People hold a rally outside City Hall to protest toddler mask mandates on April 4.
NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx

“Field trips, neighborhood walks are part of our curriculum,” she said. “So when … [the kids] are taking neighborhood walks to observe the changes in the trees, they will be able to see the teacher[‘s face] now.”  

The kids’ masks are still required indoors and on public transportation — a rule that some families, including Tara Murphy and her 4-year-old toddler in the West Village, are waiting to see changed.

“Some of us feel like this outdoor mandate being lifted is a win,” said Murphy, a former nursery-school teacher. “But some of us feel this is an appeasement.

Sign reading "unmask my toddler" is held at rally.
Masks are still required on transportation and indoors for toddlers.
Jon Cherry/Getty Images

“This should’ve been in place for a year and a half — since we knew it was safe to be outside,” she said.

Students in city K-12 schools have the option to remove masks both in and outdoors, even as the risk of spread of COVID-19 in New York City was raised from “low” to “medium” this week. City Health Department guidance recommends officials consider requiring face coverings in schools at that level, but the Adams administration has not reinstated the mandate.

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