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N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul extends mask mandate

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N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul extends mask mandate
A shopper wears a protective face mask at the Essex Market in New York City on December 2. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday extended the state's mandate requiring people to be either vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask indoors until Feb. 10.

The announcement comes days after the state Supreme Court in Nassau County struck down the indoor mask mandate on the grounds that it's unconstitutional. An appeals court on Tuesday ordered the mandate to remain in effect, though, as litigation makes its way through the courts.

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The mandate was set to expire Tuesday. Hochul said the state will evaluate the whether it needs to re-extend the rule "a couple days" before it expires next month.

"But if we continue on this rapid trend downward, we will be in a good place," she said. "If it levels off, or something else happens, I need that flexibility, and I'm going to continue to reserve that. But also, people are waiting to hear when some of these restrictions are going to be lifted. We are going to continue with our flexibility."

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If needed, she added, she will lift the mandate early. Among the public spaces required to enforce the policy are schools.

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Earlier this week, Hochul vowed to appeal the state Supreme Court's ruling struck down the mandate.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican, said the mandate is unenforceable.

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"This order would require the health department to send a $1,000 fine to the public library if you or I happened to walk through the door without a mask on," he told Politico. "This is not a practical or appropriate way to get people to do things that you'd want them to."

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