(CNN) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new temporary indoor mask order, but at least one county leader says she won’t enforce it.
On Friday, Hochul announced the measure, which runs from Monday, December 13 through at least January 15, 2022. It requires New Yorkers to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces unless businesses implement a vaccination requirement.
The governor said she is trying to get ahead of what she calls a “winter surge” for three main reasons: increased cases, reduced hospital capacity and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas, according to a press release.
Anyone who violates the mask-wearing mandate could face fines of up to $ 1,000 and is subject to all civil and criminal penalties.
“As Governor, my top two priorities are protecting the health of New Yorkers and protecting the health of our economy,” said Hochul. “We should not have gotten to the point where we are facing a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share the frustration of many New Yorkers that we have not yet overcome this pandemic.”
But the mandate brought a strong response from a county leader.
Rockland County Mayor Ed Day He said in a statement: “I told the governor’s staff that we cannot and will not enforce this requirement as it currently stands. How can you enforce something that is based on a press release that does not contain the information and explanations? The governor has said that this program will be reevaluated on January 15, 2022, but what metrics will be used as part of this reevaluation? “
Hochul’s announcement has left county officials “answering unanswered questions from our citizens; an incredibly frustrating situation caused solely by miscommunication from New York State and Governor Hochul,” Day said.
New York Hospitals Under Pressure
More than 80% of New Yorkers 18 and older are fully vaccinated, but since Thanksgiving, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in New York has increased by 43%.
Hospitalizations increased 29%, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
On Thursday, Hochul said that at least 32 hospitals across the state had to suspend elective surgeries to free up hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients.
It also indicated last week that it could dispatch the National Guard to about 50 hospitals in upstate New York that had less than 10% bed capacity.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism