Assembly GOP wants mask mandate dropped
Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics New York State Assembly Republicans released a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, February 2, urging the governor to end the statewide indoor mask mandate and to grant more authority over the pandemic to local governments. "We urge you to reverse course and return authority to our local governments as the New York State Public Health Law was designed to do," the letter states. However, Hochul said New York will continue to keep its mask rule in place for now after a spike in cases caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The letter was delivered as the mask mandate is being challenged in state court. A Nassau County judge overturned the mandate, but the order was stayed while the appeal continues. Republicans have been critical of the indoor mask rule, especially for schools in New York. Republican candidate for governor U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin this week appeared at a rally in Albany, calling for the mask rule to be dropped in schools. "If she truly respected the role of the Legislature, she wouldn't try to preserve this unlawful mandate," tweeted GOP state Assemblymember Christopher Tague. Hochul believes a mask rule must remain in place for now in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19, and recently extended the mandate until February 10. Hochul has argued that masks need to remain on indoors in order to keep businesses and schools open, and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Hochul's office on February 2, reported 7,131 patients with COVID are hospitalized in New York. Of those people, 46.1 percent are in the hospital for reasons other than COVID or COVID-related complications. "We're in a much better place, but we have to decide what that looks like," she said when asked about the mask mandate. "We're not prepared to throw in the towel and say we're done fighting COVID." Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.