A New York appeals court judge on Tuesday granted a stay in an appeal over mask mandates in the state – keeping the rule in effect during the legal process, to the delight of Governor Kathy Hochul.
A day earlier, a judge had struck down Hochul’s mask mandate, one week before it was due to expire.
The state attorney general, Letitia James, had filed a motion to stay the ruling in an attempt to put it on hold while the state filed a formal appeal, and on Tuesday James’s request was approved.
Justice Robert Miller of the state appeals court temporarily blocked the lower-court ruling, siding with the state.
The requirements in New York state, home to around 20 million people, include wearing masks in schools, on public transit and other public indoor spaces.
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, on Tuesday praised the temporary stay on the ruling that face masks indoors were unconstitutional, thanking the appeals court ‘for siding with common sense and granting an interim stay to keep the state’s important masking regulations in place’
People take a selfie inside Grand Central Station in Manhattan on January 13.Face masks must be worn on public transport
New Yorkers are seen in Times Square on January 25, wearing face masks even outdoors – which is not compulsory, but which is widely seen
Judge Thomas Rademaker of New York State Supreme Court on Long Island ruled on Monday that the governor overstepped her authority in imposing a rule that needed to have been passed by the state legislature.
In March, lawmakers ruled that New York was no longer under a state of emergency, PTS Terbaik ASEAN limiting the governor’s and the health commissioner’s powers – but Hochul still re-introduced the mandate in December 2021.
Judge Rademaker said that legislators’ decision to declare New York no longer in a state of emergency means Hochul’s measures forcing residents to wear masks in all indoor spaces, which carry fines of up to $1,000 for those who do not comply, are unenforceable and are now void.
It is unclear how many businesses, if any, have been fined for failing to enforce the mask mandate.
Hochul, a Democrat, had vowed to fight back, saying in a statement, ‘We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately.’
On Tuesday, she commended Justice Miller for his ruling.
‘As Governor, my top priority is protecting the people of this state,’ she said.
‘These measures are critical tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make schools and businesses safe, and save lives.
‘I commend the Attorney General for her defense of the health and safety of New Yorkers, and applaud the Appellate Division, Second Department for siding with common sense and granting an interim stay to keep the state’s important masking regulations in place.
‘We will not stop fighting to protect New Yorkers, and we are confident we will continue to prevail.’
The next hearing in the case has been set for January 28.
Hochul had declared a state of emergency almost immediately after the World Health Organization named Omicron as a variant of concern on November 26.
When Hochul imposed the rule on December 31, she called it temporary.
She later extended the original expiration date of January 15 until February 1.
New York state has passed the Omicron peak, and case numbers are now dropping.
The seven-day positivity average was 9.64 percent on January 24, down from 22.2 percent on January 7.
There were 9,854 hospitalizations, Hochul said on Tuesday, and 158 new deaths reported.
Disagreements and court action over mask mandates in a number of states have become a flashpoint of the pandemic response in the United States, often dividing Democrats and Republicans.
Earlier this month, the U.S.Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses.
A judge in Texas last week ruled that Biden could not require federal employees to be vaccinated.
On Monday, New York state education officials told schools to keep enforcing Hochul’s indoor mask mandate even after the Long Island judge struck down the requirement.
‘While these legal steps occur, it is NYSED’s position that schools should continue to follow the mask rule,’ said education department spokesperson Emily DeSantis.
The New York State Education Department advised schools to keep following Gov.Kathy Hochul’s re-introduced indoor mask mandate. Above, students at White Plains High School in April 2021
A Long Island judge ruled on Monday that Hochul’s law was ‘void and unenforceable’, but on Tuesday an appeals judge overrode that decision. Above, students leave the New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) school in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan on December 21
Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vowed to fight back, saying in a statement on Monday: ‘We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately’.On Tuesday she was victorious