Health Commissioner Issues Advisory on COVID-19 Prevention Ahead of the Holidays As Cases Surge

As we approach the holiday season, and with the Omicron variant spreading, ALL New Yorkers should get vaccinated or a booster dose, wear a face mask in all indoor public settings, avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor gatherings and get tested

December 16, 2021 — The Health Commissioner today updated his November 29th Advisory calling on all New Yorkers to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All eligible New Yorkers should get vaccinated as soon as possible and those 16 and older who are fully vaccinated should receive a booster shot when it’s their time. New Yorkers are still advised to wear face masks in all indoor public settings. Higher quality masks, like KN95s, KF94s, or N95s, offer better protection than cloth face masks. Everyone should get tested for COVID-19 immediately if they have symptoms, three to five days after they have been exposed or traveled, and before and after attending a gathering. COVID-19 testing remains important and can detect infection due to Omicron. Additionally, this holiday season all New Yorkers should consider outdoor activities and gatherings to minimize risk of transmission Older adults or those that have a health condition that increases their risk of COVID-19 should consider staying home.

“We are seeing a steep rise in cases and, coupled with the threat of the more contagious omicron variant, we all must recommit ourselves to taking steps to protect ourselves and our city” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Consider upgrading to an KN95 or KF94 mask if you’re using a cloth face covering–or double mask. Get tested often but especially if traveling or gathering, and immediately if symptomatic. And most importantly, get vaccinated now if you’re not already. If you’re already fully vaccinated, get your booster shot if eligible.”

Get Vaccinated!

A fully vaccinated person is much less likely to get sick or spread the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if they have their booster shot. To find a vaccination site, visit or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692).

Get Tested!

Testing remains an important part of reducing the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling ill, believe you have been exposed, or have recently traveled or attended a gathering, visit, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 311 to find a testing site near you.

Mask Up!

All individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, should wear a mask at all times when indoors and in public settings. All masks should cover the nose and the mouth and rest snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face. Higher quality masks, such as KN95s or KF94s, can offer an additional layer of protection.

Stay Home!

If you are feeling sick you should stay home and leave only to seek appropriate care and testing. If you are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection, such as those with underlying health conditions, you should avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor gatherings.. Gathering with others increases the risk of COVID-19, especially if not everyone is vaccinated.



MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Lanza