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Governor says mask mandate gives businesses ‘flexibility’

Gov. Kathy Hochul during a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.
Gov. Kathy Hochul during a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.(WWNY)
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 12:24 PM EST
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NEW YORK (WWNY) - Instituting a mask mandate is better than shutting the state down.

That was the message from Gov. Kathy Hochul during a COVID-19 briefing in New York City Tuesday.

In defending the mandate for indoor public spaces she announced Friday, Hochul said she was giving flexibility to businesses and other venues to either mandate masks or vaccinations.

“That’s an option that they may not have thought we’d give them, but I’m trying to be accommodating to their interests to keep customers coming in but at the same time protecting their health,” she said.

New York City, she noted, doesn’t have a mask option. People need to by fully vaccinated to go out in public.

“And that’s the lesson I want people to see around the state: that here we’re giving people around the state flexibility,” she said, “understanding the pressures that exist outside the five boroughs.

She said the measures are needed because cases and hospitalizations are escalating and there aren’t as many people vaccinated as there needs to be to slow the winter COVID-19 surge.

“This is a preventive, very unintrusive approach compared to shutting down schools and churches and synagogues, places of work, as we saw before,” the governor said. “I will not go to that space.”

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