ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement today saying that the vaccine-or-mask mandate that went into effect in December will end for some businesses on Thursday.
The governor thanked businesses for playing a role in helping to decrease COVID-19 numbers during this pandemic.
“I want to thank them because of them, we were able to lift this at this time. Again I will always, always retain the flexibility to make adjustments if necessarily,” explained Hochul.
Governor Hochul said she’s now leaving it up to counties, cities, and businesses to have their own mask or vaccination requirement if they’d like to. Business owners are already welcoming this news.
“I think as restaurateurs especially in these times, we are spread so thin. And to police guests and to tell other grown adults to put on masks has been a difficult challenge, because it’s antithetical to hospitality,” said Dominick Purnomo, owner of Yono’s in Albany.
While this requirement is lifting for some places, it’s not being lifted for all. The mask mandate will still be in effect for schools and childcare centers, state regulated health care centers, nursing homes, shelters, correctional facilities and public transportation.
Now that COVID numbers are going down, this has gained bipartisan support.
“It seems as though things are moving in the right direction,” said Democratic Senator Michael Gianaris, who represents District 12. “I think there is a desire to get back to normal by people and to the extent we can do so safely, we should absolutely do that.”
Capitol Region Republican Senator, Daphne Jordan said this announcement is overdue, and added the governor still needs to go a step further.
“Businesses are welcoming that, but we still are not unmasking our kids,” said Jordan. As you know, I put out an online petition sending the Governor a message yesterday, so in the first 20 hours I had 914 signatures for the Governor to unmask our kids. Which I would say is the most signatures by far I have ever gotten in such a short time on any of the petitions I have put out.”
After February break, the Governor said an assessment will be made as to whether or not kids will be able remove their masks in schools.