New York's unelected Governor Kathy Hochul is set to make an announcement on Wednesday regarding the lifting of mask mandates, as so many nearby states have already begun to do. Connecticut and New Jersey have both let the mask mandates go, but Hochul has been a staunch proponent of all kinds of restrictions, even going so far as to get a court ruling declaring the mandates "unconstitutional" reversed in an appellate court.
Now, Hochul is set to allow businesses to forego requiring businesses to demand that customers either mask or show proof of vaccination against COVID. The mandate she had in place, however, was set to expire on Thursday anyway, reports The New York Times. The big news is that Hochul won't seek to renew the measure that stated businesses must require masking or proof of vaccination, which went into effect in early December. Hochul has had no problem going without a mask herself in circumstances where she has required it of others.
New York's public school students, however, will not fare so lucky in Hochul's announcement. The mask mandate for school children is February 21, right before the public school winter break. Hochul has indicated that this mandate will remain in effect, just as adults are able to get their lives back to normal. The Biden administration and their acolytes have also claimed that children need to stay masked, just as parents push back against the requirements, stating the incredible harms done to children by forcing them to cover their faces all day.
Kids will still face harsh restrictions and limitations on their learning despite the lack of any scientific evidence to show that transmission in schools is a danger to students. All New York City public school teachers were required to be vaccinated under threat of termination under former Mayor Bill de Blasio's rules.
De Blasio's vaccine requirements for all New Yorkers over the age of 5, wherein they have to show proof of vaccination or be denied entry from restaurants, movie theaters, and other public activities, is still in place. Mayor Eric Adams has promised to uphold those requirements that bar unvaccinated children and adults from participating in the cultural life of New York City.
While Hochul said that she will consider letting children stop wearing face masks in schools for 6+ hours a day, during physical education classes, indoors and outdoors, and during lunch periods, she said she needs more time. "I am optimistic that we're trending in that direction, but I still need the time," she said earlier this week.
In September, she announced masking requirements for all children over the age of 2 years old who are in school or daycare. These are the restrictions she is not yet considering lifting, reports the Times. They are for all children regardless of vaccination status.
California's Governor Gavin Newsom dropped mask mandates for adults, but has left them in place for children, who are the least susceptible to the virus overall. Los Angeles County has kept the mandates in place.
Oregon and Delaware have also moved to drop some mask mandates, while in Boston, the vaccine mandate-enforcing Mayor Michelle Wu said there would be a way to lift those mandates coming soon, and based on a metric of COVID hospitalizations.
While Democrat governors and mayors are able to make these changes without much pushback, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who announced the lifting of mask requirements in schools, giving parents an "opt-out" for their kids, has faced legal challenges from recalcitrant school boards that see him as an impediment to their progressive causes.
While the Biden administration has consistently claimed that they aim to "follow the science," it appears that politics and not Petri dishes are what's guiding the loosening of restrictions. New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy was surprised this past fall to find that voters were keen to oust him from office due to frustration and anger over his COVID-inspired restrictions. This prompted his administration to begin to consider getting rid of some of these limitations on life.
When the National Governor's Association met with President Biden last week, they looked to him for guidance as to how to find a political way out of this overly extended public health crisis and the restrictions they had imposed under Biden's urging. Biden, upon taking office, had insisted on 100 days of imposed masking for all Americans. Many states went hundreds of days further in their requirements for citizens, as well as enforcing vaccine requirements. Federal mask requirements are still in place for all interstate public transit.
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