County executives ask Cuomo to follow CDC rules on masks

Around New York State

FILE – In this June 15, 2020, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo removes a mask as he holds a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

KINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) — Six of New York’s county executives called Sunday for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to update the state’s COVID-19 protocols in accord with new federal guidelines that ease rules for fully vaccinated people.

The bipartisan group of county executives cited Thursday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

“New York needs to follow the science-backed guidance of the CDC,” the officials said in a joint statement. “As we continue to see active cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily dropping day by day and more people receiving vaccinations, the Governor should implement the CDC’s common sense guidance.”

Several states changed their COVID-19 rules after the CDC announcement, but Cuomo, a Democrat, said Thursday that his administration was reviewing the new guidance. A spokesperson for the state health department said Sunday that the review was continuing.

New York’s mask mandate dates to April 2020, when Cuomo first required everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask when out in public or unable to distance themselves from others.

The statement urging Cuomo to change the state’s rules was signed by Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. Bellone and Ryan are Democrats, while the others are Republicans.

The executives added that New Yorkers who have not had themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 should do so.

On Thursday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released a statement urging the state to align their policies with the new CDC guidelines.

“Today’s new CDC guidance for persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is great news and is further proof our local and national efforts to vaccinate all are making a huge difference in the fight against COVID-19. In Erie County, fifty-one percent of all residents aged 17 and above have been fully vaccinated, and just under fifty-one percent of all residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. While these numbers are good, it is essential that we fully vaccinate more people in our community to properly protect all from a terrible virus that has taken more than 1,800 of our neighbors. Today’s news is further proof of the importance of getting vaccinated, and if you have not yet been vaccinated, I ask you to please consider doing so as soon as possible.

Additionally, because many of the rules and regulations regarding businesses in our state are set by the New York State Department of Health, I call on the New York State Department of Health to expeditiously review the new CDC guidance and align state policies with it.”

Mark Poloncarz

MORE | As New York continues to review new CDC mask guidance, other states nationwide adopt it

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