When New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a statewide mask mandate a week and a half ago, she put the onus of enforcement on the counties. However, 37 counties are refusing to comply with the mandate. She then effectively backtracked on the mandate when she said last week that she wouldn’t force them to comply.
Hochul nevertheless remains committed to getting counties on board with her mandate and is now trying bribery.
On Monday, the governor announced that she is “making $65 million available to counties across New York State to help with the costs associated with administering vaccines and boosters and enforcing the mask-or-vaccine mandate for indoor public places that went into effect statewide last week.”
“Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are the surest ways to fight COVID and stay safe, and this funding will help counties across the state enforce the reasonable, responsible and effective mask-or-vax mandate in place until mid-January,” Hochul said. “The state is taking extensive measures to fight this pandemic and giving New Yorkers the tools everyone needs to stay safe. Instead of spreading COVID, let’s spread holiday cheer and do it safely by getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors in public spaces.”
Up to $1 million will be available for most counties, while larger counties will able to receive up to $2 million. “Counties that participate in the enforcement of the statewide mask-or-vax mandate will be eligible to apply for this additional assistance,” according to the governor’s press office.
“Expanding funding to support local county health departments through access to testing, masks, and most of all—getting vaccinated and boosted—remain our best defenses against the virus and Omicron variant,” acting Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said.