New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul (who served as Lt. Governor under Andrew Cuomo, and succeeded him when he was forced to resign over sexual harassment allegations), has imposed a new, statewide mask mandate.
Despite no one dying of the new Omicron variant in New York State—or the world, according to the World Health Organization—Hochul declared that businesses are responsible for checking the vaccine status for every individual… which Rep. Elise Stefanik (R, NY), said is “an untenable and outrageous request of our business community.”
According to The New York Times, Stefanik is among the outspoken critics of the new mandate and has called it “authoritarian” and “crushing” for small businesses.
The mandate, in effect as of Monday, 13 December and set to run until at least 15 January, decrees that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces that do not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry. Local health departments are responsible for enforcement, and civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance include fines of up to $1000 per violation.
Under the new rule, businesses will not be permitted to let masked but unvaccinated patrons mix with those who are vaccinated but unmasked; a business will have to impose a policy of admitting only those with proof of vaccination, or one requiring all to be masked regardless of vax status.
The governor has established this new mandate in anticipation of a surge in COVID cases this winter, with special concern over the new Omicron variant. She calls it a “wake-up call” for the rest of the state, because some areas have lagged in vaccination rates and imposing mask rules. It’s not expected to force many changes in New York City, where proof-of-vaccination is already required in many venues.
There was an immediate backlash against the mandate from Republican officials, and the board of supervisors of Madison County, near Syracuse, vowed to not enforce it, calling it the latest “disconnect that exists between Albany [the state capital] and our upstate counties.” There is also resistance in some New York City suburbs.
New York joins Washington, Oregon, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada and Hawaii as states that have reimposed similar indoor mask mandates. California is also set to join that list as of tomorrow, 15 December.
TRENDPOST: As we have long forecast, the type of masks that the vast majority of the public wear do not stop the virus. And, as was recommended by “health experts” when the virus first broke out, only those who are sick and most susceptible should be wearing masks that work… and not the healthy, since long periods of mask wearing have proven to be a health hazard. (See “DOCTORS: WEAR MASKS, GET SICK” (20 Oct 2020), “STUDY: MASKS HARMING CHILDREN” (12 Jan 2021), “WEAR MASKS, BREATHE TOXIC PARTICLES” (13 Apr 2020) and “WEAR MASKS, GET SICK” (23 Jun 2020).
Also, as of this writing, we’re still waiting for any reports of deaths attributed to the Omicron variant; see “WHAT’S UP WITH OMICRON?” (7 Dec 2021).