CAPITAL REGION, N.Y.(NEWS10) – New York state is ready to drop its masking requirements for healthcare facilities.

The end of masking rules for hospitals and doctor’s offices coming Monday, after the last couple of years of restrictions. 

Starting February 12, new guidelines from the department of health will affect hospitals, nursing homes, and health care facilities throughout the state. People will no longer have to mask up, regardless of vaccination status.

Phil Barrett, the Chairman of Health and Human Services for Saratoga County, says the new change is a welcomed one.

“With the new change it’s very important to monitor the level(s) of Covid within your municipality/county, so we will continue to monitor that very closely as we have for years now,” said Barrett.

The D.O.H. advises facilities to follow CDC guidelines to control infectious diseases, like Covid-19, and implement their own plan based on transmission levels.

“We’ve always believed that getting a vaccination is a personal choice and that’s something people should do their own research, speak to their own healthcare professionals and make their own personal decision. That’s been our stance throughout the entire pandemic. And that stance hasn’t changed, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon,” said Barrett.

NEWS10 has reached out to area hospitals and received the following statements:

Albany Medical Center:

“While we are evaluating the guidance from the state Department of Health, we look forward to moving ahead safely for our patients, visitors, and staff.”

Ellis Hospital:

“We continue to have our masking policy in place going into next week and we will revise based on further regulatory guidance on best practices. Our Ellis colleagues, patients and visitors will continue to mask within our facilities. We thank everyone for their cooperation.”

St Peter’s Health Partners:

“The New York State Department of Health’s latest guidance affirms the importance of masking as a vital and effective infection prevention strategy. They have asked health care providers to develop and implement a masking plan for staff and visitors that considers and uses guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which focuses on local transmission levels.

As transmission levels in the Capital Region continue to remain high, employees, patients and visitors entering St. Peter’s Health Partners patient care facilities are still required to wear masks, in accordance with CDC recommendations and Trinity Health policies. As a health care organization, we care for the most vulnerable of our communities and COVID and influenza remain a risk. The safety of our colleagues and patients remains our top priority.”

These new changes will not affect any facility requirements that are unrelated to COVID-19, including the flu.