Appellate Courts stays Hochul's mask mandate


The New York State Appellate Court stayed Gov. Kathy Hochul's mask mandate for indoor places to March 2, as the appeal moves forward and as long as the state files court papers. The state will reassess every two weeks. She said that while Covid indicators are improving the numbers do not warrant lifting the regulation. 

The mandate applices to all indoor places , business and schools. For most places it was set to expire on Feb. 10, Feb. 21 for schools. The state Appellate court began to hear arguments on the mask mandate's legality on Jan. 28.

A New York State Appelate Court decision on Jan. 25 ruled in favoer of State Attorney General Letitia James appeal of  New York State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker's Jan. 24 decision to lift the the state mask mandate.

Rademaker ruled on procedural grounds, saying, essentially, that Governor Hochul when she ordered mask wearing in public spaces, did not have authority to do so because a state of emergency had not been declared. That meant she should have sought permission from the State Legislature to enact a state mandate, which she did not do. 

"It is time for the governor to stand down and stop disrespecting the rights of students and parents,"  Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said in a statement. "Mask decisions should be made by families and school boards who have their finger on  the pulse of their communities. Not Albany politicians. Nassau is normal again, and our county will continue to lead the way as an example for the rest of the state to follow."  Blakeman triggered the legal action with an anti-mask executive order on Jan. 6.  

Lawrence Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen sent a text  on Jan. 25:  "Thank you for your patience as we awaited clarification on changes to the mask mandate. The appellate court has issued a 'stay.' This continues masks as mandatory for students, staff, and visitors to schools. The next  step in court takes place on Friday."

In his letter to district parents, Hewlett-Woodmere Superintendent Ralph Marino Jr. wrote:  "This means that school districts must continue to enforce the state mask mandate, and all students, staff and visitors must continue to wear masks while inside our school buildings. In addition, masks must be worn on school busers." 

Five Towns yeshivas are on winter break through this week.  Officials at the Brandeis School in Lawrence said the mask requirement remains in place as of press time.