Rochester reacts to extended mask mandate

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The number of new COVID cases in New York continues to drop. Gov. Kathy Hochul credits her mask mandate which has been in place since mid-December as the reason.

Friday, she extended the mandate for another two weeks. News10NBC got some reactions after the announcement.

You’ll have to keep your masks with you until Feb. 10, or until the court rules differently. Hochul said she will re-evaluate this policy every two weeks.

Hochul continues to spread her message of beating COVID-19, and its various variants as long as we continue to strictly follow her masking mandate. Karlee Verfuss is a nurse and supports Hochul’s mandate.

"I’m for it for obvious reasons," Verfuss said. "Makes sense to me. Sadly it doesn’t seem like this is going away anytime soon."

Gerald Tillery added, "I’ve been vaccinated twice. I had my booster, but you know whatever I can do to help hopefully end the pandemic eventually."

Just days after Hochul’s enforcement of her mask mandate was ruled illegal by a Nassau County Supreme Court Judge, an Appellate Court Judge reversed that ruling. Her masking mandate was granted a temporary stay. Then came her announcement on Friday issuing a temporary two-week extension.

"That has been a critical tool in driving those numbers down," Hochul said. "They could be even more out of control, but we’re going to continue doing this not by month. Not by three months. We’re going to do it every two weeks now."

Tillery added, "I’m still okay with that. Especially considering we’ve been wearing them what two years now. You’re kind of used to it at this point."

Hochul said the school masking policy legally remains in effect.

"So the Appellate decision, the Second Department sided with us, and let common sense prevail so now we’re back into ensuring that these are in place for now, and the only reason we have this is because this is how we can help keep our schools open," Hochul said.

Of course, the debate over the mandate rages on in the Appellate Court. Written arguments from both sides were due Friday afternoon. No timeline for a decision has been released.