Sept. 15, 2021
Hochul defends vaccine mandate while ordering new mask-wearing edicts
ALBANY – Battling the Covid-19 spread on legal and public health fronts, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that the state will “vigorously” defend a vaccine edict for health care workers while also imposing new mask-wearing mandates on state-regulated child care facilities, after-school programs and congregate and residential settings such as substance abuse programs and inpatient mental health facilities.
“We’re hoping we will make overwhelming, persuasive arguments in support of allowing the state of New York to do what is necessary to protect the public health," Hochul said about the state’s appearance before a federal judge in Utica who on Tuesday halted the looming vaccine mandate for health care workers, no matter whether someone has a religious objection.
"It's the smart thing to do and we have to continue the mandates," Hochul added. "This is not intended to be dictatorial; this is intended to save lives."
Hochul, sounding worried about more people gathering indoors as the more contagious Delta variant is spreading in many communities, said the “scariest announcements” each day involve the growing number of children contracting Covid-19.
With children under 12 not permitted to receive a vaccine, Hochul said the state will expand mask requirements to include more settings with children, such as child care facilities for those over the age of 2. She said it expands upon the state’s recent requirement for face coverings to be worn in schools across the state.
The latest statistics: Covid-19 statistics from state and county departments of health, as well as new data from the New York Times' national Covid-19 tracking project. Read more
Unmasked parents challenge mandate at Orchard Park School Board meeting: On the agenda Tuesday at the Orchard Park School Board meeting were typical agenda items: financial reports, signing off on personnel matters and accepting a donation from the booster club. But some parents upset that their children are being required to wear masks in school had other ideas. Read more
The Editorial Board: Solution to private school’s mask conflict is for its supporters to face the hard facts: "New Yorkers are lucky to live in a state whose leaders are trying to follow the science rather than seeking political advantage," writes The News' Editorial Board. Read more