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Hochul hints New York mask mandate may be ending before long

Governor Kathy Hochul presents a COVID-19 update in New York.
Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Governor Kathy Hochul hinted Monday that she may soon end the COVID-19 pandemic related statewide mask mandate for public indoor spaces. But she said it may not come for another month.

The Democratic Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, announced that the state’s mask mandate for school children will end in mid March, citing plunging infection numbers.

New York’s current mask mandate for indoor public spaces, including shops, offices, restaurants and theaters, expires on Thursday. Hochul said she will make her own announcement before then about the future of the mask mandates, saying she’s encouraged by declining infection rates in New York and fewer hospitalizations.

“I’ll be making another announcement on Wednesday about one of our mask or vaccination requirements that are in place, and have been in place since early to mid December,” Hochul said.

Hochul also hinted that, like the rules change in New Jersey, the mandates might not end right away.

“I’m going to continue to head in that direction. We are hoping to get to that,” said Hochul. “That is our goal. But I am going to continue looking at the metrics.”

Hochul said she’s also looking at the ongoing mask mandate in the state’s schools. She said more children need to be vaccinated before any decisions can be made. She said just 34% of kids 5 to 11 years old have received the shots.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.