Mask Up, Governor Hochul Issues Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate
With the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul is instituting a mask mandate.
Hochul says masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement indoors.
She says the State Health Commissioner is backing the mask mandate.
"I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: Increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas."
Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 43 percent and hospitalizations have increased by 29 percent.While the percentage of New Yorkers fully vaccinated continues to increase—gaining 2 percent from Thanksgiving weekend to now—the uptick is not fast enough to completely curb the spread of the virus, particularly among communities with low vaccination coverage, said the Governor.
The mask mandate will be in effect from December 13 until January 15, after which the State will re-evaluate based on current conditions.
Several states already have mask mandates, including New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii.
On Thursday, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced an indoor mask mandate for Oneida County.
Facials coverings will be required at places like stores, entertainment venues, and restaurants.
Madison County Board Chairman John Becker says Madison County will not be enforcing Governor Hochul’s latest mandate.
"While the County recognizes that masks can be helpful in stopping the spread of COVID-19, our data continues to suggest that the majority of new cases are coming from the household transmission and not from public places. This new mandate is another example of the disconnect that exists between Albany and our Upstate counties. We will continue to recommend that residents get vaccinated and wear masks in public places to help protect themselves from the virus, but in no way believe it should be mandated. The choice to vaccinate and protect oneself belongs to the individual.” said Becker.