News & Politics

New York Won’t Force Counties to Comply With Mask Mandate

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

New York Governor Kathy Hochul undermined her own statewide mask mandate on Monday by revealing that she would not force counties to comply with the mandate.

“We have left this to the counties to enforce. We hope that counties will enforce it,” Hochul told reporters. “We expect that they will, we hope that they will, it’s in the best interest of public health. But it also comes down to individual businesses doing the right thing as well. We’re asking businesses to protect their customers and to protect their employees.”

But several counties had already announced their intention to not enforce the mandate, including Rockland, Madison, Niagara, Livingston, Rensselaer, and Chautauqua counties.

“I told the Governor’s staff that we cannot and will not enforce this requirement as it currently stands. How do you enforce something that’s based on a press release that does not contain adequate information and explanation?” Rockland County Executive Ed Day, a Republican, said.

“Governor Hochul derided the use of these types of measures just days ago,” David LeFeber, chairman of the Livingston County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement. “Now, we are back to Cuomo-era approaches. That is an unfortunate, and swift, switch of position by the Governor.”

Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel is also not planning to enforce the mandate. He is asking businesses to encourage patrons to wear masks, but is advising them not to engage in any confrontations with non-compliant patrons

With several counties not enforcing the mandate, it’s almost as if the mandate doesn’t exist—at least if you live in a county with Republican leadership.

Related: I Went Shopping Maskless in New York Despite The Mandate… Here’s What Happened