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New booster available, masking requirements lifted in many settings as New York shifts COVID-19 regulations

Masking is optional in many settings where it was previously required across New York, according to Governor Kathy Hochul.

Governor Hochul made that announcement on Wednesday, along with an update on vaccines.

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters, which are designed to add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants and bolster overall protection is now available in New York.

COVID-19 boosters are now available from Pfizer-BioNTech for anyone age 12 or older and from Moderna for those 18 or older.

As for masking, Hochul said it will be optional in settings where previously required, including airports, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and detention centers.

Masks will still be required at adult care and health care facilities regulated by the state Department of Health, and in clinical settings regulated by the office of Mental Health, office of Addiction Services and Supports, as well as the office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

There were 58 deaths related to COVID-19 between September 3 and September 6.