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New York’s new statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces

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Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that starting on Monday, Dec. 13, masks must be worn in all public indoor places for businesses not requiring vaccines.

To combat the winter surge of COVID-19 cases in New York, the governor is giving businesses the option to either implement a mask requirement or require proof of fully vaccinated status.

“As Governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy,” Hochul said. “The temporary measures I am taking today will help accomplish this through the holiday season.”

Businesses who decide to go the mask route must ensure all patrons aged 2 years and older wear face coverings indoors when they are not actively eating or drinking, the state says.

Those who prefer to implement a proof of vaccination requirement can accept Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC Vaccination Card.

The state reports that since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 43 percent and hospitalizations by 29 percent.

The number of fully-vaccinated New Yorkers continues to rise — the percentage increasing two percent from Thanksgiving weekend until now — but the governor said the uptick is not quick enough to curb the spread of the virus, specifically among communities with low vaccination coverage.

More than 76 percent of the total population in Suffolk County has received at least one dose of the vaccine; 84.2 percent for Nassau County, the state reports.

The state planned to reassess the latest mandate on Jan. 15, based on current conditions.

“We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet,” Hochul said.

You can read the full announcement by clicking here.

Continue to follow Greater Long Island for updates for further state guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.