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New York judge blocks state mask mandate

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New York judge blocks state mask mandate

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A New York state judge ruled on Monday that the state’s mask mandate was illegally enacted and is now void, according to court documents.

In December, amid a winter virus surge, Governor Kathy Hochul renewed a mask mandate in all indoor public places in the state — including schools and nursing homes and on public transportation. common – for a period of one month. The state health department then extended the term for another two weeks, which will expire on February 1.

In his ruling, state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademacher wrote that Ms. Hochul and state health officials lacked the authority to enact the mask mandate without the approval of state officials. state legislators. Regardless of the “well-focused” intentions of state officials, such authority is “confined solely to the state legislature,” Judge Rademacher wrote.

The state attorney general’s office is considering appealing the decision. And Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the state’s education department, said the state’s health department will appeal, which would automatically reinstate the mask rule until a court decides. appeal renders a decision.

“Therefore, schools must continue to follow the mask rule,” she added.

While the ruling overturns the statewide mandate for masks in schools and public places, it does not reverse local mandates.

Ms Hochul said in a statement on Monday that her office strongly disagreed with the decision and would “pursue all options to reverse this immediately.”

“My responsibility as governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures are helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” she said.

The decision was applauded by some Republicans, including Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who said in a statement Monday that it was a “victory for small businesses, parents, students and freedom of all New Yorkers.”

“Governor Hochul’s heavy-handed mandates were crushing small New York businesses that have already faced unprecedented challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stefanik said. “By imposing masks on children in our schools, these mandates have hindered the development of our next generation.”

In New York, the wave of Omicron has faded, but it’s not over. An average of around 20,000 people are now testing positive for Covid-19 daily, down sharply from the peak of this increase of 90,000 people testing positive on January 7. The positivity rate also halved, from more than 22% to 10 percent.

But New York’s daily cases remain far higher than when the outbreak began in early December, and hospitals are still struggling to treat around 10,000 Covid patients statewide. Hospitalizations have started to decline but remain higher than at any time since May 2020. More than 130 people die from the virus each day across the state.

New York judge blocks state mask mandate

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