A New York judge has struck down the Empire State’s mask mandate.
State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker ruled Monday that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and the state Department of Health couldn’t reinstate the state’s mask mandate without approval from the state legislature.
But the state Education Department says schools “must continue to follow the mask rule.”
As Fox News reports:
Hochul announced in December that masks will be required in all indoor public places in the state unless the businesses implement a vaccine requirement. The move came shortly after the emergence of the omicron variant.
Despite criticisms from local officials, Hochul extended the mask mandate two weeks past its planned end date. Business owners who violated the order faced fines up to $1,000 and other penalties.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted the mask mandate in the early stages of the outbreak, citing emergency powers. The mandate was dropped for those who were vaccinated in June 2021. Fox 5 NY reported that Hochul said her mandate would be in effect for at least a month. Then earlier this month, the Health Department said the mandate would be in place until Feb 1.
Hochul issued a statement obtained by Fox News that said it is her responsibility to protect New Yorkers and the measures “help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.” She said she will fight the decision.
Reuters pointed out that Rademaker wrote that his decision did not intend to take sides in the mask debate, but wrote that “enacting any laws to this end is entrusted solely to the State Legislature.”