UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Oneida County is reinstituting a mandatory mask policy for public indoor places effective Monday, Dec. 13. Masks must be worn inside all public places. This mandate will be in effect until Jan. 10, 2022.

Two other counties from the Capitol District, Albany and Schenectady counties, also reinstituted mask mandates earlier this week in the face of rising COVID numbers.

Erie County reinstituted its mask mandate late last month due to rising cases. Erie is now seeing its highest number of cases at any point in the pandemic.

Oneida County executive Anthony Picente made the announcement Thursday morning at a breakfast meeting at the Harts Hill Inn in Whitesboro. Part of Picente’s announcement includes the fact that the new mask policy will be evaluated prior to the Jan. 10 expiration date to see if any changes are warranted.

The mask mandate pertains only to public indoor places; stores, theaters, restaurants and sporting venues. For private indoor events, temperature check and proof of vaccination will suffice.

Oneida County has averaged over 180 new COVIOD positives a day over the past five days. There were also 11 COVID related deaths recorded in the county. Oneida County also reported 2 cases of the Omicron Variant.