ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) announced Friday that it is lifting its mandatory mask requirements for all DOCCS correctional facilities.
This follows, according to officials, the consistently falling infection rate within prison walls.
The policy has been lifted alongside the entrance screening process at DOCCS facilities. Individuals visiting the facilities will be able to do so with normal, pre-pandemic procedures in effect.
There are exceptions, however, for certain medical circumstances.
The department will also continue to provide at-home COVID-19 tests to visitors, and will require them to test negative before being allowed to visit. If an employee, volunteer, visitor, or incarcerated individual still chooses to wear a mask, they may do so.
“The Department remains committed to protecting the health and safety of staff, the incarcerated and parolee populations, as well as visitors,” officials said. “Thank you for your continued patience and compliance with the various COVID-19 safety protocols that have been enacted and modified throughout the pandemic, consistent with guidance from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. As we continue to monitor COVID-19, we will issue additional guidance as necessary.”
Anyone approved to participate in the Family Reunion Program (FRP) over the age of five will have to be vaccinated in order to enter prison walls.
All participants over the age of five must provide a copy of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or a screen shot of their vaccination record via the NYS Excelsior App, documenting that they are fully vaccinated.
Incarcerated individuals in quarantine or isolation will not be allowed to visit until they are determined to be recovered.