Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman will not enforce Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mandate that all businesses either require patrons to wear a face covering or require proof of vaccination, a spokesperson for Blakeman confirmed Monday.
The statewide reinstatement of the mask mandate went into effect Monday and will continue through Jan. 15, at which time the governor said she will re-evaluate it. Blakeman takes office in Nassau on Jan. 1.
“My administration will move Nassau forward with a common sense approach that acknowledges the facts, science, and progress made by our residents while also protecting businesses and jobs from any further damage created by government mandates,” Blakeman said in a statement. “Nassau County is not in crisis, and should not be painted with the same broad brush as the rest of the state. 97% of adults in Nassau County have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, and Nassau hospitals have adequate capacity to handle existing demand.”
Hochul announced the mask mandate last week as a measure to prevent spread of the virus during the colder winter months, when people are spending more time indoors and with friends and family for the holidays. Since last month, Long Island’s Covid-19 positivity rate has more than doubled from 2.88% on Nov. 12 to 6.49% on Dec. 12.
“As governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy. The temporary measures I am taking today will help accomplish this through the holiday season,” Hochul said last week. “We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet. I want to thank the more than 80 percent of New Yorkers who have done the right thing to get fully vaccinated. If others will follow suit, these measures will no longer be necessary.”