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New York Mask Mandate Remains in Effect After Appellate Court Ruling

On Jan. 25th, an appeals court judge blocked a lower court ruling made the previous day to end the statewide mask mandate for schools and public places put in place by Governor Hochul in December.

The appeals court judge had heard arguments in an emergency hearing on Jan. 25th to determine the fate of the mandate as Attorney General James moved to appeal the decision and ensure that the measures remained enforceable. At issue, noted attorneys for the plaintiff in that hearing, was not the efficacy of masking in combating the spread of infectious disease, but whether the state Department of Health (DOH) had the authority to implement the mandate without the involvement of the Legislature.

The Jan. 24th court decision and subsequent appeal do not impact the enforcement of guidance for health care settings regulated by DOH, and all local mask mandates remain in place.

Given the continued rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the resulting strain on hospitals and other health care providers, masking in public remains a best practice and should be observed voluntarily whenever possible. LeadingAge NY will continue to monitor challenges to the statewide mandate.