New York Governor Kathy Hochul — the recently sworn-in replacement for disgraced ex-governor Andrew Cuomo — announced a new mask mandate Wednesday for kids in day care and other facilities regulated by the state.
To help slow the spread of the #DeltaVariant and reopen our economy safely, I'm announcing a series of universal mask measures.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 15, 2021
The new mask mandate covers those two years and older in numerous state facilities including state-regulated childcare, inpatient/outpatient substance abuse centers, and mental health facilities. Hochul tweeted that her expanded mask mandate applies to all regardless of an individual's vaccination status. The only exemption is for those who are medically unable to tolerate wearing a mask.
Face coverings for kids age 2+, all staff & visitors, are now required at @NYSOCFS-licensed/registered child care centers, home-based group family & family child care programs, after-school child care programs, and enrolled legally exempt group programs during operational hours.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 15, 2021
These universal mask requirements apply to anyone medically able to tolerate wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 15, 2021
The Buffalo News reported that Hochul said her executive actions related to COVID are "the smart thing to do and we have to continue the mandates," adding "This is not intended to be dictatorial; this is intended to save lives."
With Delta on the rise, requiring masks is a key part of slowing the spread, reopening our economy safely, and protecting vulnerable New Yorkers.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 15, 2021
This new mask requirement ensures that children in our child care facilities receive the same protection as children in our schools.
"We all want the pandemic to be over," Hochul explained. "We have the power to do it. Let's get it done."
We all want the pandemic to be over.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 15, 2021
We all want to keep our kids safe.
We have the power to do it.
Let's get it done.
Wednesday's expanded mandate follows recent legal action brought by multiple school districts on Long Island who oppose Hochul's masking requirements for students.
New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin slammed the new additional "absurd, unscientific, power-hungry mandates" on Twitter.
Governor Hochul is now requiring kids starting at age TWO to wear masks at childcare centers. New governor, same absurd, unscientific, power-hungry mandates.— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) September 15, 2021
Governor Kathy Hochul just ordered 2-year-olds to wear masks in New York. TWO-YEAR-OLDS! This one-dimensional, head-scratching, “government knows best" ridiculousness somehow manages to get even more bizarre each day.— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) September 15, 2021