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Mask Mandate

Hochul again extends New York’s mask mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday once again extended the state’s mask-or-vaccine mandate, even as she said she saw very good signs regarding the number of omicron cases.

The mandate for all indoor buildings across the state is now Feb. 10. It had been slated to end Tuesday. That date, too, was an extension from Jan. 15. It requires all indoor facilities across the state, including private businesses and schools, to enforce a mandatory mask requirement for people who enter. The only way entities can avoid the mandate is to have a mandatory vaccination policy in place.

Earlier this week, state officials won a stay on the mandate as they appealed a ruling by a Nassau County Supreme Court judge who said Hochul did not have the power to issue the order last month.

The governor made the announcement even though earlier in the week she said positivity rates were at the lowest in more than a month. She said the mandate has helped the state lower its caseload quicker than others.

“They could be even more out of control,” she told reporters Friday afternoon. “But we’re going to continue doing this not by month, not by three months, we’re going to do it every two weeks now. So we can be ready to give businesses the notice they’ve been waiting for.”

On Friday, the state announced a total of 13,592 new COVID-19 cases, down from 17,305 reported Thursday. The daily positivity rate dropped from 7.34% Thursday to 6.15% Friday.

Hospitalizations and intensive-care cases also dropped. COVID-19 cases took up 8,181 hospital beds on Friday, a drop of 560 cases. ICUs reported 1,249 coronavirus patients, with 741 of those people needing intubation, down from 1,318 and 771, respectively, Thursday.

There’s still a chance the mandate could again be extended, and Hochul said an announcement – if that were to happen – would come a couple days before Feb. 10.


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