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Republicans call on Cuomo to rescind child mask mandate

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Republicans in the New York State legislature called on Governor Cuomo Monday to repeal a mandate requiring children as young as two to wear masks at daycare facilities.

The top Republican in the state senate, Rob Ortt, said his office has been “inundated” by calls from angry parents and confused operators of daycare centers.

7 News documented the confusion and frustration of daycare operators Friday. We found them facing 23 pages of new regulations, including a mandate which appears impossible to comply with - getting a very young child to wear a mask.

“If this was the scientific smart thing, where was this guidance, how come it hasn’t been in place for the better part of the last year?” Ortt said Monday.

“Were we less concerned about our children over the last year? Daycares have been open the entire time.”

The Cuomo administration has said it is following guidance from the federal government’s Centers For Disease Control, (CDC), but Ortt argued Cuomo has been “very selective” over the last year about which CDC guidance he accepts.

“If a Department of Health person walks into a daycare and there’s a two year old, three year old without their mask on, are they gonna be fined? Who is gonna be held responsible?” Ortt said.

Ortt called on Cuomo to reverse the mandate, and if he doesn’t, for the state legislature to act.

Ortt was joined on a Zoom call by daycare providers, parents and politicians from around the state.

One of them, Liz Cercone, who represented the University of Buffalo’s child care centers, said the mandate makes no sense.

“I could understand if there was suddenly an increase in cases tied to centers,” Cercone said.

“But there’s been very little child-to-child spread in child care centers. In fact, our two locations in Buffalo have had exactly zero child spread.”

Cercone also said the mandate is affecting parents.

“We have families that are considering removing their children from our centers because of this mandate.”

The controversy over masking two year olds comes as a new poll shows a majority of New Yorkers still approve of the job Cuomo is doing to address the pandemic. The Siena Research Institute poll showed 58 percent of the people asked approve of Cuomo’s pandemic performance, while 35 percent do not.

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