Food Bank of the Southern Tier lifts mask mandate for vaccinated individuals

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(WETM) – The Food Bank of the Southern Tier has announced that they are lifting their mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals. The announcement follows Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to lift the state’s mandate beginning May 19 for those vaccinated against COVID-19.

Those who are not vaccinated or under 12 must continue to wear a mask inside the food bank.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier made the announcement on Tuesday in an email to volunteers:

Good afternoon,

I am reaching out because, as you may be aware, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the CDC’s “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People” for most business and public settings. After an extensive conversation with our Senior Leadership Team, we have decided to lift our mask-wearing mandate for fully vaccinated individuals on May 19. Mask wearing will now be optional for fully vaccinated individuals.

We will operate from a place of trust and will not require proof of vaccination; however, we expect those who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks, including children under 12.

People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.  Note: If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated.

We support fully vaccinated individuals choosing to wear masks and will continue to make disposable masks available to all volunteers.

Our front entrance will be locked, and shifts will continue to be limited to 20 people Monday-Friday and 15 people on Saturday until the number of eligible individuals fully vaccinated in Chemung County reaches a safe level to justify an increase in/max shift size.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier or one of our partner programs, please visit or contact us at

The food bank follows several national retailers, including Target, Walmart, and Starbucks, who have also lifted their own mask mandates for vaccinated individuals.

On Tuesday Governor Cuomo announced that the Southern Tier’s 7-day average percentage of positive tests was 0.62 percent.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier can be reached at 607-796-6061 or on their website.

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