Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement on Monday that her office strongly disagreed with the ruling and would be “pursuing every option to reverse this immediately.” “My responsibility as governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and save lives,” she said.

A New York State judge ruled on Monday that the state’s mask mandate had been enacted unlawfully and is now void, according to court documents, the New York Times reports.

Gov. Kathy Hochul had renewed a rule requiring masks or proof of vaccination at all indoor public places throughout the state in December, amid a winter virus surge, and said it would last a month. The state Health Department then extended the mandate an additional two weeks, to expire on Feb. 1.

In his six-page decision, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademacher wrote that Ms. Hochul and state health officials lacked the authority to enact the mask mandate without the approval of state lawmakers, and that it violated the state constitution. Regardless of the “well aimed” intentions of state officials, such authority is “entrusted solely to the State Legislature,” Justice Rademacher wrote.

The office of the state attorney general, Letitia James, filed a notice of intent to appeal the ruling on Monday night. Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department, said the department had informed its schools that, as the legal issues are resolved, “schools must continue to follow the mask rule.”

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