Hochul Imposes State-Wide Mask Mandate

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December 10, 2021

By Barrett Seaman—

With infection rates and hospitalizations from COVID-19 still rising while vaccination rates lag, Governor Kathy Hochul has imposed a requirement that both patrons and employees wear masks in all indoor settings unless the place of business has implemented a vaccine requirement.

Coming out of Thanksgiving, which has indeed produced an anticipated spike in infections, the statewide seven-day average case rate has jumped 43% and hospitalizations have gone up 29%. Meanwhile, vaccination rates since Thanksgiving weekend have risen a paltry two percent.

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“I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary,” said the governor in a statement issued Friday morning, “and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: Increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas.”

While the metrics here in Westchester are comparatively better than elsewhere—particularly the Finger Lakes and Western New York, they have nonetheless climbed, prompting County Executive George Latimer to declare a state of emergency at the beginning of the week.

Both Latimer and Hochul have repeatedly stressed that the solution is here and that it is obvious: vaccines. The majority of new cases—and the vast majority of hospitalizations—involve the unvaccinated. Thus the exemption for organizations that have implemented a vaccine mandate, which is intended to serve as an incentive.

The mask mandate goes into effect on Monday, December 13th, and will remain in effect until January 15th, which would put it two weeks after New Year’s Eve, presumably the last of the seasonal spike events.

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