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Zeldin joins Albany rally opposing school mask mandate, calling it 'child abuse'

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin
Ashley Hupfl
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)

New York Republicans, including Long Island Congressman and Gubernatorial Candidate Lee Zeldin, rallied outside the Capitol building in Albany to call for an end to the state’s mask mandate in schools.

This comes a few days after Governor Kathy Hochul extended the indoor mask mandate until February 10. It impacts all businesses and venues without vaccination policies and all school districts.

Zeldin called the mandate “child abuse,” and claimed Hochul’s executive order doesn’t actually follow the science.

“The CDC — the science — is recommending against wearing the masks that Kathy Hochul is forcing them to wear all day long. I challenge this governor to spend one day, eight hours in a mask. I'm sure it's not happening,” Zeldin said.

State Senator Alexis Weik of Patchogue said it’s not up to the government to raise New York families and children. 

“Mandates equal dictate. And since when do we live in a communist country? And since when do we get our laws dictated to us? Never,” Weik said. 

The mandate hit a roadblock in Nassau County last week after a state judge deemed it unconstitutional. But the state’s highest court decided the mandate can remain in place for now, after the state attorney general filed an appeal. 

Parents said several Long Island school districts still allow masks to be optional for students and staff.

Zeldin is the presumptive Republican nominee for governor of New York. He said if elected, all COVID-19 mandates would end on day one.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.