Judge leaves New York indoor mask mandate in place, for now

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 12:47 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A New York appeals judge has left in place the state’s indoor mask mandate while Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration appeals a lower court’s decision to overturn it.

Judge Robert Miller granted the state’s request Tuesday for a stay of a Long Island judge’s ruling Monday that the governor and health officials lacked authority to require masks. The conflicting legal actions have left many New York businesses and schools unsure of how to move forward.

“I’m glad the court ruled this way,” said Clinton County Legislator Bobby Hall, D-Area 10, who spoke to WCAX prior to Tuesday’s stay by the courts to leave the mandate in place. Hall owns and operates Bobby’s Lounge on South Catherine Street in Plattsburgh. He says while the mandate is in limbo, masks will be optional at Bobby’s. “I will not be enforcing it. I am going to let the customers decide for themselves whether they want to wear one when they come in.”

At the North Country Food Co-op, they took the opposite approach. “We are planning on keeping it here, yes,” said the store’s Ryan Demers. He says masking keeps his staff and customers feeling safe. “They feel comfortable being here at the registers talking to customers if there is a mask policy in place. It helps us serve the community as well.”

While some school districts have dropped the requirement and made masking optional, Most North Country schools are following education officials’ guidance and keeping it for now. That has some parents speaking out, including one who told WCAX “This has gone on too long” and that they “will fight for their constitutional rights.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-New York, was fighting too, asking any parent who was told they must mask their children prior to the stay, to call her office.

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