Hochul issues sweeping Covid mandate

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Gov. Kathy Hochul cited data that shows since Thanksgiving the statewide seven-day average COVID case rate has increased 43 percent and hospitalizations have increased 29 percent.

Citing rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul today announced an order that mandates masking in all indoor public spaces other than businesses and venues that require proof of vaccination.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes Centers for Disease Control vaccination cards and New York’s Excelsior Pass phone apps.

The mask mandate takes effect Monday and will remain in place until Jan. 15, 2022, when the state will review the measure based on current conditions. Hochul called on local health departments to enforce the mandate, with a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation.

The new business and venue requirements apply to both patrons and staff.

“I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas,” Hochul said. Now, a mask mandate is needed “to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy.”

Hochul cited state Department of Health tracking that shows since Thanksgiving the statewide seven-day average COVID case rate has increased 43 percent and hospitalizations have increased 29 percent.

The data show that in the nine-county Finger Lakes region, which includes Rochester and Monroe County, COVID hospitalizations rose from 389 on Nov. 24 to 501 on Dec. 8, a 29 percent increase. The number of residents per 100,000 returning positive COVID tests across the region increased from 80.6 on Nov. 25 to 91.9 on Dec. 8, a 14 percent increase. Monroe County residents’ positive tests in that period rose to 84 from 75.8, an 11 percent increase.  

The rising COVID numbers came despite a 2-percentage-point uptick in the number of vaccinated New Yorkers over the same time span.

Currently, 80 percent of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. While the increase in the number of residents taking the shot is encouraging, Hochul said, given the rise in cases and hospitalizations, the percentage of vaccinated residents is not high enough yet.

Added Hochul: “We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet.”

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer.

5 thoughts on “Hochul issues sweeping Covid mandate

  1. I have been vaccinated for this virus three times. From what I read, most masks are not efficient enough to stop the virus. This newest virus apparently affects those who have been vaccinated but it’s not a serious illness. I don’t see that the mask wearing is all that effective Especially when most people do not wear an N 95 type of mask. I’m tired of these mandates. I’m tired of wearing a mask. And I could see how it will possibly hurt our economy if more people stay home instead of going out because they don’t want to wear a mask anymore. Amazon has become my newest friend.. I know I spend a lot more time at home now partly for that reason. This governor went right ahead as soon as the new variant came out to come up with this mandate with little information. So far from what I see and hear, mandated cities have not been doing all that well Covid wise and places like Florida that have no mandate are doing better. I guess it remains to be seen what statistics we have when this mandate period is finished. Question remains every time a new various shows up does that mean another booster shot? Something we don’t know yet I suppose. Anyway I am willing to show my vaccinated CDC card if businesses have somebody there to look at it and if it means I don’t have to mask up.

  2. Ms Hochul is turning out to be Cuomo in a skirt. Shame on her for abusing her power. We don’t need another edict to remove more of our liberties yet again. The mask ban has come and gone, there is no need to revisit it. Hopefully she will be gone as well after next year’s election.

  3. Gov. Hochul is proving to be a truly great leader. As they say, timing is everything!
    This might be a great lesson for our new Mayor Malik Evans, to not procrastinate, waste time, hoping for some perfect opportunity to arrive.

    I-A-T-Q-O-Y-W (The quality of your attitude is as important as the quality of your work).
    Harry http://www.SavingSchools.org

  4. I understand why the Gov feels compelled to do something here. (Although the ironies do not escape me that she is making these decisions on behalf of of the people and she has never stood for election at the top of the ticket, or that NYS has and has had some of the most stringent Covid protocols in the nation along with some of the highest vaccination rates yet is having a Covid “emergency”.) Where I might take issue with her is that this order is a “once size fits all” . I understand why you’d want a mask mandate in a crowded retail establishment in winter time, but as I understand this order it encompasses ALL business. So if I am a sole proprietor with a small biz with few or no employees and little traffic, I am now in the position of enforcing a mask mandate or vaccine credentials. Perhaps a exemption for small biz with few employees/ traffic would of been in order here. On top of all the other regs here, this is just one more that would make someone contemplate moving to a more business friendly state like Florida.

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