The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is now advising residents to wear masks when indoors, citing the rise in community infections and the high COVID-19 alert level the city transitioned to on Tuesday.


The advisory issued by the city advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when indoors and in public settings. These include offices and stores as well as common areas such as elevators and hallways.


High-risk groups including people over 65 and individuals who are still unvaccinated or cannot get the shot — such as children under 5 — are advised to take additional precautions.


The department advised that people in these high-risk groups wear masks at all times when in public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings and also advised that nonessential gatherings be avoided.


Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said on Twitter Tuesday, “New York City has transitioned to a high COVID alert level, meaning now is the time to double down on protecting ourselves and each other by making choices that can keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers from getting sick.”