Republicans in the New York state Assembly sent Gov. Kathy Hochul a letter on Wednesday asking her to waive the state’s need for indoor masks and give local governments greater control over the pandemic.
However, Hochul has stated that despite an increase in cases linked to the COVID-19 omicron strain, New York would maintain its mask ban in place for the time being.
The letter is being sent out at the same time as a state court case challenges the mask law. A judge in Nassau County reversed the order, and a court of appeals put a hold on that decision while New York authorities appealed.
While state authorities cite to statutes that grant the Department of Health considerable power over preserving public health, opponents have maintained that New York lacked the ability to implement the mask mandate through the state Department of Health.
The letter urges you to change your mind and give our local governments back the power that the New York State Public Health Law was intended to provide.
Republicans have criticized the indoor mask requirement, particularly for New York City schools. This Monday, Lee Zeldin, a Republican running for governor, spoke at a demonstration in front of the Capitol and demanded that schools no longer enforce the mask policy.
“If she truly respected the role of the Legislature, she wouldn’t try to preserve this unlawful mandate,” tweeted GOP state Assemblyman Christopher Tague.
Hochul, however, is of the opinion that a mask regulation must continue to be in force for the time being in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in New York. She most recently extended the deadline until February 10. According to Hochul, masks must be worn indoors in order to keep shops and schools open and keep hospitals from filling up with COVID-19 patients.
7,131 COVID patients are now being treated at hospitals in New York, according to Hochul’s office on Tuesday. 46.1% of them are hospitalized for conditions unrelated to COVID or complications arising from COVID.
When questioned about the mask requirement during an event in the Bronx on Tuesday, she responded, “We’re in a lot better position, but we have to decide what that looks like. “We’re not willing to give up and declare that the struggle against COVID is over.”
Masking and social distancing should be encouraged or even mandated once more in public in order to protect people from COVID-19 and from the possibility of suffering from “Long COVID,” according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services.