New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Wednesday, February 9th, that the state is eliminating its statewide “mask-or-vaccine” rule for indoor businesses from Thursday, Feb. 10, citing favorable developments in COVID-19 statistics.
Hochul stated during a news conference that there has been a decrease in the number of cases, hospitalizations, and positive rates, as well as advances in the number of New Yorkers who have been vaccinated and boosted.
“This is trending in a very, very good direction,” Hochul said, declaring that the state is now in “a new phase” of the pandemic.
Despite this, the governor stated that mask restrictions will continue to be enforced in other venues such as schools and day-care centers, healthcare facilities, homeless shelters, and state prisons.
Hochul said that the most pressing question for her is when the school mask mandate would be removed. She stated that she had spoken with principals, superintendents, PTAs, and teacher representatives and that her first concern had been to keep schools open.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 99.99 percent of children who have contracted COVID-19 have survived. Hochul’s decision to retain the school mask mandate in place, for the time being, follows declarations from other blue states, such as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, that they will remove school mask laws. Connecticut’s statewide requirement will expire on February 28th, while New Jersey’s will be lifted on March 7th. Delaware’s deadline is March 31.
When asked if she would consider withdrawing the school mask rule once children return from spring break and the state reviews test results on March 7, Hochul answered, “That is a very strong possibility.”