To mask or not to mask? Some county leaders not on board with state mandate

Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam county executives say they will not enforce the mandate because their health departments lack the manpower or are focusing efforts on vaccinations.

News 12 Staff

Dec 13, 2021, 10:53 PM

Updated 859 days ago

Share:

Masking up has become mandatory across the state again, but some county leaders aren't on board.
Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam county executives say they will not enforce the mandate because their health departments lack the manpower or are focusing efforts on vaccinations.
"We posted a message saying educate, vaccinate and no mandates. That's what we will continue to do. That's responsible government,' said Putnam County Executive Maryelle Odell.
"The state has said to us on calls ‘do not engage in enforcement in the next two weeks. Do not divert resources that are vaccinating and testing for the purposes of enforcement. And if enforcement leads to confrontation, then don't enforce – and educate.’ We're not going to put Health Department officials, who have no policing authority, in that position,' says Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
The answer also isn't simple for some business owners who have even more questions about the new state mandate. The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce tells News 12 that it is being inundated with calls from businesses.
In response to various county executives refusing to comply with the mandate, the state Department of Health says, "While the commissioner's determination leaves enforcement up to local health departments, we are confident that businesses and individuals will comply with these protocols."


More from News 12