Judge on New York's Mask Mandate: Nope

Governor says she's working to have decision reversed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2022 1:41 AM CST
Updated Jan 25, 2022 5:05 AM CST
Judge Strikes Down New York Mask Mandate
Demonstrators gather at New York Freedom rally, protesting vaccine and mask mandates before New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her State of the State address at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Albany, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

(Newser) – New York's mask mandate was struck down by a state supreme court judge who on Monday declared the mandate unenforceable. The judge ruled that without approval from the state legislature, and because no state of emergency is currently in place, the governor and health commissioner had no authority to enact the mandate, CNN reports. Gov. Kathy Hochul had issued a temporary order mandating that masks be worn indoors unless a business has a vaccine requirement in place, then extended it two weeks after it was originally set to expire Jan. 15.

In a statement, Hochul said her office is "pursuing every option to reverse this immediately." The judge noted in his ruling that it has nothing to do with mask-wearing in and of itself: "To be clear, this Court does not intend this decision in any way to question or otherwise opine on the efficacy, need, or requirement of masks as a means or tool in dealing with the COVID-19 virus," he wrote. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman praised the ruling, CBS New York reports. "Tomorrow morning, our school kids are going to be able to go to school and not have to wear masks," he said. Some schools do indeed plan to do away with mask mandates, News 12 reports. (Read more New York stories.)

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