New York to implement indoor mask mandate for public places

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Gov. Kathy Hochul in Johnson City in October. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

NEW YORK (AP) Facing a winter surge in COVID-19 infections, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that masks will be required in all indoor public places unless the businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

Hochul said the decision to impose a mask mandate was based on state’s weekly seven-day case rate, as well as increasing hospitalizations.

The mask mandate applies to both patrons and staff and will be in effect from Dec. 13 to Jan. 15, after which the state will reevaluate.

“As governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy,“ Hochul, a Democrat, said in a news release. “The temporary measures I am taking today will help accomplish this through the holiday season.“

Several states already have mask mandates, including New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii.