The New York State Supreme Court has ruled that the mask mandate by governor Kathy Hochul is unconstitutional.
The mask mandate, put in place for all public indoor spaces, came into effect in December 2021 and was due to expire on 1 February 2022.
Governor Hochul on Monday said she would challenge judge Thomas Rademaker’s ruling.
“My responsibility as governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” she said.
“We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately,” she said.
Striking down the mask mandate, Judge Rademaker said the governor overstepped her authority in imposing a rule that needed to have been passed by the state legislature, reported Reuters.
The judge, however, wrote that his ruling is not intended in any way to question or otherwise opine on the efficacy, need, or requirement of masks as a means or tool in dealing with the pandemic, but that “enacting any laws to this end is entrusted solely to the State Legislature.”
It was the latest setback to the executive branch as earlier this month the US Supreme Court blocked president Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses.
Nassau county executive Bruce Blakeman, who signed an executive order allowing school boards to determine if school children should be required to wear masks, called this ruling a “major win for students and parents.”
Meanwhile, Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department, told the New York Times the state Health Department would appeal against the order. This would automatically restore the mask mandate till an appellate court rules in the matter.
“Therefore, schools must continue to follow the mask rule,” she told the outlet.
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