Hochul to make announcement on mask mandate Wednesday

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Gov. Hochul says she will be making an announcement on Wednesday about mask and vaccination requirements for businesses.

The mandate was reinstated in mid-December by the state health commissioner. It requires masks in schools, health care facilities, homeless shelters, jails, public transportation, and in any indoor public area where vaccination wasn’t required for entry.

It was supposed to expire on Feb. 1, but was recently extended to Feb. 10 by Hochul. She also had said she would now evaluate the mandate every few weeks, instead of months.

An appeals judge recently restored the mandate, overruling a state judge who said Hochul’s administration lacked the constitutional authority for it.

Hochul’s push to her Wednesday announcement comes as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the mask mandate for kids in schools will be lifted on March 7. Hochul was asked if something similar could be coming to New York soon.

"I’m going to continue to head in that direction. We’re hoping to get to that. I’ve said for weeks that is our goal, but I’m going to continue looking at the metrics," said Hochul.

"That doesn’t mean we won’t get to that place, but it’s just premature at this time to talk about it," she later added.

Hochul says she has also been talking to school superintendents and hospital leaders.

She once again urged parents to get their kids vaccinated.

"I’d like to see it higher than 34%, which is what we’re looking at now for the 5 to 11-year-olds," said Hochul. "I know we can do better than that."