On Monday, a New York judge ruled against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s effort to reinstate a mask mandate, determining it unlawful and “therefore void and unenforceable”.
After the Omicron variant emerged in 2021, Hochul announced a mask mandate for all indoor public places in the state, unless businesses implemented a vaccine requirement.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had put a mask mandate in place in the early stages of the outbreak, but it was dropped for those vaccinated in June 2021.
Hochul’s mandate was supposed to be in effect for at least a month. Earlier in January, the Health Department said the mandate would be in place until Feb 1.
State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker determined that the state Department of Health did not have the authority to implement the mandate.
Rademaker said the law “was promulgated and enacted unlawfully by an Executive branch state agency, and therefore void and unenforceable as a matter of law”.
In a statement over the judge’s decision, Hochul said it is her responsibility to protect New Yorkers and the measures she implements “help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives”. The governor plans to fight the decision.
“We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately,” Hochul said.
Reported by Reuters, Rademaker said his decision did not intend to take sides, but wrote that “enacting any laws to this end is entrusted solely to the State Legislature”.