“The rest of the state now has a wake-up call,” Gov. Hochul, a Democrat from the Buffalo area, said during a news conference on Friday
Masks will be required as of Monday in all indoor public spaces in New York State that do not require vaccination for entry, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, as the state grapples with a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The new requirement means that shops, restaurants and venues will require patrons to be masked unless their employees check that those entering the premises are fully vaccinated. Businesses could face civil and criminal penalties, and fines of up to $1,000, for failing to comply, and local health departments have been tasked with checking on them.
The shift may not have a dramatic effect in localities like New York City, where patrons are already required to show proof of vaccination to eat inside restaurants or go to the theater. But the outlook is far more consequential in the rural and conservative pockets of the state, which have not instituted vaccination entry requirements and have lagging vaccination rates.
“The rest of the state now has a wake-up call,” Ms. Hochul, a Democrat from the Buffalo area, said during a news conference on Friday where she announced the new requirement. Ms. Hochul said the rule would be in place until at least Jan. 15, when officials would reassess the measure.
Backlash to the new rule is possible. In the areas it will affect most, the requirement could be seen as burdening businesses and placing additional pressure on workers tasked with enforcing Covid guidelines. Hosts, for example, have been subjected to blowback and attacks in restaurants from Upper Manhattan to Baton Rouge, La.
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