Court upholds state’s indoor mask mandate
Masks will stay on in schools and other indoor public places for now. It is the latest legal decision in a fight that has gone back and forth in the last week.
New York's Appellate court upheld Gov. Kathy Hochul's mask mandate for indoor public locations and schools as the appeals process continues.
Last week, state Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker struck down the order, saying that neither the governor nor the state health commissioner had the authority to enact the mandate without the state Legislature, since the governor no longer has emergency powers.
The governor said "I commend the Appellate Division, Second Department for granting a full stay to keep our masking regulations in place for the duration of our appeal. My primary responsibility as Governor is to keep New Yorkers safe. Mask regulations keep our schools and businesses safe and open, protect vulnerable New Yorkers, and are critical tools as we work to get through this winter surge. Thanks to our efforts, including mask regulations, cases are declining and we are seeing major progress in the fight against COVID-19. I thank the Attorney General and her team for their defense of these common sense measures, and I am confident we will continue to prevail. We are committed to doing everything in our power to keep New Yorkers safe."
But not everyone is happy about the court’s decision. Parents, community members and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman gathered in Mineola Tuesday on the steps of the Legislature building to speak out against the mask mandate in schools.
“I believe in vaccines, I believe in science, but what I don’t believe in is unnecessary mandates for my 2- and 4-year-old, and I’m also here fighting for my 6-year-old in first grade who has never been to school without a mask,” said Seaford resident Amanda Schafer.
Other parents say their children will continue to follow the mask mandate.
“Everyone fighting over this? For me it doesn’t make sense especially when there’s a large part of the community that is in favor of keeping everyone safe,” says Bethpage resident Jennifer Watters-Delahunt.
According to the Appellate Court, the mandate could stay in place through March 2, unless a court hearing overturns it before then or the governor decides to end it.
As News 12 has reported, the mask mandate is set to expire Feb. 10 in most public places and Feb. 21 for schools. However, the governor has said she will continue to reevaluate every two weeks. With the new March 2 date in effect, it could mean she could extend the mandate through then.