Hochul, state Republicans continue to disagree on mask rules

Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Hochul said she commends the stay on the state’s mask mandate. But New York Republicans are calling on her to introduce the mask rule into the legislature instead of continuing to pursue it in court.

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At a briefing Tuesday afternoon, before a stay was issued on the mask mandate, the governor expressed her disappointment with Monday night’s ruling by the state Supreme Court judge that the mandate was illegal.

Hochul said that she believes the Executive Branch has a responsibility to protect New Yorkers from the public health crisis, and that they don’t have to go through the Legislature.

She said she would continue to pursue the case as long as she thinks safety restrictions could help keep the pandemic under control.

But Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said it should instead be up to the legislature to decide what is best for people.

"Rather than fight it out in court, send it to the legislature. Send it to the legislature, and let the senators and the assembly members who were elected to make police, make policy. Let us vote. You’ll find out which members want mandates, which members don’t, that’s how democracy is supposed to work, that’s how this should work," Ortt said.

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Hochul credited the mandate with helping to keep hospitalizations down and keeping kids learning in-person.

Here’s the governor’s full statement, after the stay on the state’s mask mandate was announced:

"As Governor, my top priority is protecting the people of this state. 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."