'She would rip it off': Parents say toddlers won't wear masks despite Hochul mandate
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul has issued more universal mask mandates focusing on several groups including small children.
On Wednesday, Gov. Hochul issued a state wide mask mandate for all day care and after school facilities. The new rule requires all staff visitors and children ages 2 and up, who are medically able, to wear masks while indoors.
Hochul says COVID-19 vaccines are only authorized for those 12 and up, and masks are the best line of defense in child care settings. In addition to child care facilities, the new mandate also requires masks to be worn in all state-licensed facilities providing mental health, substance abuse, disability, domestic violence and foster care services.
Back in May, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried a similar mandate but public outrage was so fierce that he ended up changing it from a requirement to a recommendation.
Reaction is no different this time around.
The new rules are not being greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm with many people telling News 12 that trying to force a toddler to wear a mask eight hours a day is unrealistic. "I would really like to ask, whoever the lawmakers are who made this decision, have you spent 11 hours a day with a 2-year-old?" asks day care worker Layla Rascona.
"I think when it comes down to it, is it really going to help anybody with the kids wearing something on their face all day? Probably not," says Mike Urciuoli, parent. "If I ever try and put it on my 2-year-old, she would rip it off," adds another parent.
But some parents say while it won't be easy getting little ones to mask up all day...it's worth it. "Even if we can get the kids to wear the masks half the time, that's still reducing exposure by half," says one parent.
Day care workers who have spoken with News 12 say they will try to keep children outside as much as possible so they don't have to mask up. And some parents say they will look for other options for child care rather than force their toddler to mask up for that many hours a day.
The new rules go into effect today.