The New York State Supreme Court says Governor Kathy Hochul’s directive that all schools and businesses require staff and customers to wear masks is unconstitutional and can’t be enforced.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The mandate, which was due to expire February 1, was aimed at curbing the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus but the Court says without emergency powers, the Governor didn’t have the authority to impose the rule.

The judge said the ruling was not an opinion on the effectiveness of masks but just on whether the mandate was properly enacted.

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The mandate was reinstituted by the Governor over concerns about a winter surge of coronavirus cases. The state health department has said the mandate would be in place until February 1.

State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker said in his decision Monday, January 24 that the state Department of Health didn’t have the legal authority to implement the mandate.

Governor Hochul issued a statement following the ruling defending mask mandate:

"My responsibility as Governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately."

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