Governor mandates indoor mask wearing

Governor Kathy Hochul

ALBANY – Governor Kathy Hochul, Friday, announced masks will be required to be work in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

The move is meant to address the winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in the state.

The new business and venue mask requirements apply to both patrons and staff. The measure is in effect from December 13, 2021 through January 15, 2022, after which the state will re-evaluate based on current conditions.

Meanwhile, Republican State Senator Michael Martucci criticized the Democrat governor’s decision as a “cynical mask mandate against private businesses.” He called it “a blatant political move, not a scientific one.”

Martucci said some politicians like the governor “are using this crisis to scare and control people rather than following science and common sense.”

State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R, New Windsor) also criticized the Democrats. “As I have said since the beginning of the pandemic, arbitrary rules, regulations, and mandates issued by both former Governor Cuomo and our current Governor Hochul, have negatively impacted our local communities, small businesses, and residents statewide,” he said. “This is an executive outreach that will decimate local businesses and negatively impact our economy. As a state, it’s time that we move forward.”

Earlier this week, Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said the number of cases of COVID-19 have doubled in recent weeks and she urged everyone to get vaccinated and wear masks in public places.

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