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State indoor mask or vaccination mandate extended to Feb. 1

WWNY SUNY to use distance learning for rest of spring semester due to COVID-19
WWNY SUNY to use distance learning for rest of spring semester due to COVID-19
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 12:35 PM EST
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - The state is extending its mask or vaccinate mandate for another two weeks.

The requirement for indoor public venues to make sure their patrons are masked or vaccinated was originally set to expire on January 15.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a COVID-19 briefing Friday that the state is extending the mandate to at least February 1 because of the current trajectory of coronavirus infections, particularly the omicron variant.

Hochul said that requiring masks or vaccinations “is all geared toward keeping the economy open. The other alternative is to say ‘shut it all down,” like officials did early in the pandemic.

“The reason we don’t have to do this is because we now have the defenses in place -- the testing, the vaccines, the booster shots, the masks -- we’re in a different dynamic now.

The state is also requiring faculty at SUNY and CUNY schools to be vaccinated and students to be boosted before they return to campus. Students were already required to be fully vaccinated.

Students are also required to have a negative COVID-19 test when they return.

That takes effect on January 15.

The governor acknowledged that not all students have been fully vaccinated for six months, so they’re not yet eligible for a booster, but they should have one as soon as they are.

“This is how we’re going to ensure that theses campuses stay open,” Hochul said. “As I’ve said all along, we’re going to protect the health of New Yorkers, but also the health of the economy.”

The governor said is can be devastating to local economies when a campus shuts down.

In a statement, United University Professions President Fred Kowal applauded the move to require faculty vaccinations. The UUP represents professors on SUNY campuses.

Kowal said 90 percent of its members are already vaccinated.

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