New York to end statewide school indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, March 2
- New York will lift the statewide school indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, March 2
- The decision was taken in view of declining COVID-19 cases
- Local authorities will have the authority to enforce mask mandates, however
Speaking at a rare weekend news conference in the state capital of Albany, the Governor said, "Today we are going to be announcing that we will be lifting the statewide mask requirement in schools and that will be effective this Wednesday, March 2."
She went on to say that the administration's decision to remove the extant requirement was based on strong evidence of that New York had weathered the worst of the omicron surge that had gripped the state of late.
"We will lift the statewide requirement based on all the data that I've just outlined. However, there are some counties in the state that have a higher rate of transmission -- we will allow them the flexibility to determine what's best for their county. We would encourage them to take a look at this and follow the CDC, but this will no longer be a mandate," she explained.
The Governor was referring to a new CDC guidance released a couple of days earlier that revealed a tiered list of risk levels and associated restrictions. As per the new guidelines, more than 70% of the US, including New York, now falls in the medium risk category meaning that those not particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 need not wear a face mask indoor.
However, Governor Hochul added that counties, as well as cities, would have the authority to decide whether to have mask mandates in school after the statewide order to enforce mask mandates expires on Wednesday.
With the statewide decision now announced, eyes will be on local leaders to see whether the retain or lift indoor mask mandates.