Hochul’s renewed mask mandate in New York officially begins

Coronavirus

NEW YORK CITY — Masks are back in New York.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order that businesses require mask wearing or implement a vaccine mandate began Monday. However, the enforcement and impact of the new order remains unclear.

Hochul underscored during a press conference the mandate was a temporary measure to avoid more serious precautions like capacity limits and lockdowns.

“This is a short term measure to protect us from a change in circumstances, which is infections are going up hospitalizations are going up,” she said.

However, the governor said she will take a hands off approach in enforcing her order.

“We have left this to counties to enforce,” she insisted under questioning from several reporters about local leaders, particularly upstate, saying they would not enforce it.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would use a soft touch.

“We are going to do a lot to educate businesses, listen to them, hear their concerns, and what we want is a high level of compliance, but to do it in a very cooperative way,” de Blasio said.

Pointing to a chart of deaths from COVID in New York, incoming City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli said many New Yorkers are fed up with renewed requirements, especially with a relatively high vaccination rate in New York City and a better understanding of how to deal with the pandemic.

“Things are not happening as they once were,” he said. “To have this reaction every time there’s a thought that some variant is worse than the other is unfortunate, and it strikes at the credibility,” Borelli said.

Businesses that do not comply with the mandate face a $1,000 fine.

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