On May 13 of this year, the CDC issued new guidance stating that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear a mask. On May 19, Governor Cuomo announced similar guidelines. Both the CDC and the Governor made it clear that local businesses and workplaces have the authority to require masks.

The library’s Board of Trustees has discussed this new information and decided to maintain our current amended Rules of Conduct policy, which requires masks for library visitors.

The library is here to serve as a safe space for everyone. Accordingly, this decision was made with our community in mind, as most children and some adults do not have the option to be vaccinated.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination, and eliminating the library’s mask requirement would make our space less safe for the library’s youngest patrons. With summer approaching and our Summer Reading program about to begin, it is especially important that families can feel safe at the library.

The safety of adults in our community who have not yet received the vaccine is also important to consider. The library serves a diverse population, and this includes patrons with underlying conditions that prevent them from safely receiving the vaccine. At this point many individuals do not yet have the vaccine; as of April 21, the county’s vaccination rate is 42%, per the Chautauqua County Health Department.

The Board will re-evaluate the continued need for a mask requirement based on our county’s vaccination rate and number of new cases, as well as the availability of the vaccine to children.

Patrons who inform staff that they have a medical condition or disability preventing them from wearing a mask will be offered reasonable accommodations to receive equivalent services.

Our curbside services are still available to all patrons, including printing, copying, and faxing, as well as checking out materials. If you have questions about these services, please call the library’s Information Desk at (716) 484-7135 ext. 225, or email reference@prendergastlibrary.org.

Thank you for doing your part to create a safe environment for all visitors to the library.