State Watch

New York governor lifting indoor mask mandate, no change for schools

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) delivers her first State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber
Associated Press/Hans Pennink

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced at a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday that the state’s indoor mask mandate and vaccine requirements will be lifted, but mask mandates in schools will remain.

Hochul said decisions whether to keep indoor mask mandates or vaccine requirements will now be up to local governments. On a state level, restaurants and other venues will not have to require masks or check a person’s vaccination status. 

Hochul said the mandate will end on Thursday when the emergency order was set to expire anyway. 

However, Hochul said after discussions with local leaders and considering the lower vaccination rates among children, the mask mandate for schools will remain in effect for now. 

Other Democratic states have also dropped coronavirus restrictions this past week, from indoor mask mandates to mask mandates for schools. 

The White House is still encouraging states to keep their mask mandates for children, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation.

Hochul’s move follows a huge drop in COVID-19 cases in the state after the omicron variant wave hit New York in December and January. 

On Wednesday, the head of the CDC warned against states dropping mask mandates, saying it is too soon despite lowering case numbers.

“At this time, we continue to recommend masking in areas of high-end substantial transmission. That’s much of the country right now in public indoor settings,” Walensky said.

Tags Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic Kathy Hochul Kathy Hochul

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