Hochul says mask mandate to stay until Feb. 10

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul Friday announced that she is extending her "mask or proof of vaccination" policy for businesses through at least Thursday, Feb. 10.

Hochul said she will re-evaluate the policy every two weeks. It’s been in place since mid-December.

She added that the school mask mandate will also remain in place, saying "we’re just not there yet."

When the mask mandate went into effect on Dec. 13, 2021, the state had a most recent 7-day average of cases per 100,000 people of 54.11. Friday, the most recent 7-day average of cases per 100,000 people was 86.98.

The most recent 7-day average percentage of statewide positive test results as of Dec. 13, 2021, was 4.62% and as of Friday, the most recent value available was 7.91%.

The availability of hospital beds was one of the main reasons Hochul gave for implementing the mask-or-vaccine requirement.

As of the data released on Dec. 13, there were 3,683 COVID-positive patients in the hospital statewide. As of data available Friday, that number was 8,181. Since Dec. 13, the state has started distinguishing between COVID-positive patients admitted for COVID or complications of COVID and for other reasons; those numbers are 4,538 and 3,643, respectively.

It’s also important to note that since the mask mandate was reinstated, the availability of rapid at-home COVID tests has increased, with more pharmacies carrying them and many school districts and counties holding distribution events.

On Monday, a State Supreme Court Judge in Nassau County ruled Hohcul’s statewide mandate is unconstitutional.

Tuesday morning, the state filed an appeal and by Tuesday afternoon an Appellate Court Judge granted a temporary stay, halting the judge’s Monday order that ruled the mandate could not legally be enforced.

That stay is in place through the appeals process.

The case’s next hearing for the case is ongoing Friday and both sides are expected to deliver arguments of their appeal.

The plaintiffs submitted an argument that the stay should be overturned, saying the Appellate Court can not issue a stay because it undoes the Supreme Court’s decision before considering the merits of the appeal.

The lawyers for the group of parents argue the state is controlling the daily lives of 19 million New Yorkers, which is something the executive branch has no authority to do.

The state is arguing the mandate is about protecting public health.

The paperwork is below (mobile users, click here):

2022 00532 Michael Demetriou Et Al v Michael Demetriou Et Al RESPONDENT S BRIEF 18 by News10NBC on Scribd

News10NBC has not received the state’s arguments yet.

There is still no word on when the Appellate Court will make a decision.

News10NBC will bring you any updates on the case.