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Mask mandates can still be enacted in certain settings, despite the New York Supreme Court ruling

An example of double-masking

Now that a New York Supreme Court Judge has struck down a statewide mask mandate, it does not mean an end to mask requirements in certain settings.
The ruling stated that enacting the mandate through New York’s Health Department was illegal. Instead, it needed the state legislature’s backing in order to follow the law. Tully-Rinkey Litigation Attorney Ryan McCall believes there still could be rules about wearing masks where organizations have greater interest in protecting people… such as schools that are trying to remain in the classrooms.

"What is interesting about that is, if the mask mandate is no longer in place and school districts within their own powers decide to enact their own mask mandate for the school, they totally can do that. Additionally, they can also be bound by county guidelines because the county does have the power to protect the health and safety of its residents."

McCall adds Individual businesses also have the right to impose their own mandates. That could include masks in a store, restaurant or office, or even requirements to show vaccination status.

The statewide mask mandate was issued by the Department of Health under the direction of the Governor. McCall notes the court ruled on the process more than the medical need for people to wear masks.

"The main issue with the legal argument was, this could only be enacted during a state of emergency. New York State admitted we are no longer in a state of emergency at this time, so that is where a lot of the issues came in.

This might not be the end of the legal battle… or the mask mandate. Governor Hochul’s office said in a statement, the rule was a response to the ongoing public health crisis … and vowed to pursue ‘every option’ to reverse the court decision.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.