Hochul lifts business mask mandate
David Robinson reports in the Democrat and Chronicle that Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Feb. 9 an end to New York's indoor mask mandate for businesses on Feb. 10. Masking requirements will remain in New York's schools through at least early March. "New Yorkers this is what we’ve waited for; tremendous progress after two long years, but we’re not done," Hochul said, adding local officials and businesses can still enforce indoor mask mandates. "This fight is not over. We’re not surrendering. This is not disarmament," Hochul added, noting New Yorkers who still want to voluntarily wear masks should continue to do so. New York's mask mandate was set to expire Feb. 21. Hochul said officials will reconsider the school mask mandate in early March, looking at COVID-19 data on infections, test positivity, hospitalizations and other factors. "There will not be one number that says, 'yes or no,'" Hochul said. Currently, only 38 percent of children ages 5 to 11 have received at least the first of Pfizer-BioNtech's two-dose vaccine series. Massachusetts announced it is lifting its mask mandate in K-12 public schools effective Feb. 28. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend mask use in many public indoor settings. Read more about this story in the Democrat and Chronicle.