Mask mandates for childcare and daycare center

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ALBANY — Governor Kathy Hochul expanded the mask mandate for all children in childcare and daycare two years old and up, plus all staff and visitors.

Masks are already required in schools, jails, and certain health care settings.

"But we also want to make sure we expand this and starting today we are going to require masks at child care and day care centers because if you’re watching the national news, the scariest announcements coming out every single morning is the number of children now contracting Covid and we don’t have a vaccine available for 5 to 11-year-olds," said the governor.

The new mask mandate also includes state-regulated residential and congregate day programs, like mental health
facilities and substance abuse services.

The governor says they are monitoring hospital capacity and vaccination rates and that more young people need to be vaccinated.

Hochul was also asked about the possibility of a vaccine mandate for young people. She said she’s watching the numbers of hospitalizations of children, and keeping all the options on the table.

"Because I know this is an area of great sensitivity for parents and I’m not looking to trample on their rights as parents," said Hochul. "But I also need to do more to convince the parents that this is what has to happen for your child to have a healthy existence while they’re at school because they are exposed in schools, they’re around other people."

The new mask mandate for daycares is in line with CDC guidance that was issued in July.