Cuomo urges local officials to adopt CDC guidelines; no mask mandate from the state
As COVID-19 numbers increase across the Hudson Valley, there continues to be a push to bring back mask mandates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new mask guidelines that recommends face coverings indoors for everyone in areas of high COVID-19 transmission, regardless of vaccination status. This morning, the CDC added Dutchess and Ulster counties to its list of areas where people should wear masks indoors. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging local county governments to adopt the CDC's mask guidelines since the state no longer has the authority to issue a mask mandate.
There are currently over 1,000 COVID cases in Westchester, up from 196 cases last month. The surge in cases prompted Westchester County officials to mandate masks on county properties, but officials say they can't impose mask-wearing in private businesses.
"We do not as a county government, I do not as a county executive, have the ability to issue mandates that affect the totality of society," said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. "The governor holds those executive authorities, and as we watch his reports on a regular basis, he determines what he feels he can introduce and impose,"
The governor can only issue vaccine and mask-wearing mandates for state workers and properties. The state Legislature would have to pass a law in order for it to apply to all New Yorkers. News 12 reached out to state officials to see if such a law is being drafted.
"I think in order to keep each other safe, whether you're vaccinated or not vaccinated, it's best to wear a mask," says Lenny Thomas, of Mount Vernon.