Governor Andrew Cuomo and The New York State Department of Health have finally eased mask requirements for vaccinated individuals. One important aspect of the easing of restrictions is the decision individual businesses and organizations have to make whether or not to keep or discontinue their own mask policy.

Towards the conclusion of the first day of the relaxing of regulations Utica Zoo announced that they are lifting mask requirements on the property. Of course there are exceptions. Executive Director Andria Heath says, "We can't 'Go Wild' lifting restrictions." She went on to add,

“In order to keep our unvaccinated visitors under 12 and those most vulnerable to COVID-19 safe, we do ask that those who are not fully vaccinated to please wear face coverings in buildings, congested areas, and on the playgrounds, which will now be open.” That is in line with the New York State Department of Health mandate, where only vaccinated individuals can take off the masks.

Heath says there will be other instances where visitors will be asked to mask up as a precaution. Zoo officials say "All visitors will be required to wear masks during scheduled animal encounters, presentations, meet and greets, and more regardless of vaccination status."

A good piece of advice is to just pack the mask with you when you come to the zoo in order to have it available when going into an area of the zoo where masks are required. Heath also says fully vaccinated staff members will continue to wear masks when working with the public or in close proximity to the animals. Staying safe and having an enjoyable experience is the top priority for all.

Black River Eagle Pair Tending Their Eggs

 

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

WATCH OUT: These are the deadliest animals in the world