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Gov Kathy Hochul announced on Friday that all New York businesses will be required to either have a mask or vaccine mandate starting Monday

  • It is unclear whether the mandate will also apply to offices, or just businesses that directly serve customers

  • Hochul says the mandate could have been avoided if more New Yorkers got vaccinated, though the state is among those with the highest vaccination rate

  • The state is the nation's leader is confirmed cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, with 21 infections

  • Governor's order comes days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced strict vaccine mandates for private sector employees 

  • By Mansur Shaheen U.S. Deputy Health Editor For Dailymail.Com and Associated Press

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    New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that masks will be required in all indoor public places unless the businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

    Businesses will be forced to either check the vaccination status of employees and customers entering the building, or force everyone to wear a mask. 

    The order will go into effect on Monday, December 13 and is scheduled to end on January 15, 2022.

    Each violation of the rule will carry a maximum $1,000 fine, a press release from the governors office said.

    If a business opts for the vaccine requirement, employees and patrons must be 14 days removed from the final shot of a COVID-19 vaccine sequence - either the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the first shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

    Mask requirements will apply to all patrons two years or older.

    The mandate would apply to office workspaces as well. 

    Local health departments around the state will be responsible for enforcing the new mandates. 

    Hochul cited the rising cases in the state as reason for the move, along with the new threat of the Omicron variant - for which New York is the leader in sequenced cases.

    It comes days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced drastic measure to combat the spread of Covid, including vaccine mandates for private sector employees.  

    Gov Kathy Hochul (pictured) announced Friday that she is instituting a masking or vaccine mandate on businesses in New York. Businesses will have the option to either set a vaccine requirement, or force all employees  and patrons to mask indoors

    More than 80% of New York adults have received at least one shot of a Covid vaccine, and more than 90% of adults in the city are at least partially jabbed. The vaccination rates are among the highest in America. Pictured: A New York City man wears a face masks on December 2

    More than 80% of New York adults have received at least one shot of a Covid vaccine, and more than 90% of adults in the city are at least partially jabbed. The vaccination rates are among the highest in America. Pictured: A New York City man wears a face masks on December 2

    'As Governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy,' Hochul said in a statement.

    She also said that order like this would not be necessary had more people gotten vaccinated.

    '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,' she said.

    '...I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: Increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas.' 

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    Around 80 percent of New Yorkers have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 70 percent are fully vaccinated.

    In New York City, where the population is the densest and often is the source of much of the state's Covid issues, nearly 90 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine shot, and 80 percent are fully vaccinated.

    These are incredibly high vaccination rates compared to the rest of the country, and place the city, and most of the state, in the range in which experts believe 'herd immunity' should be possible.

    Hochul has also been a proponent of abandoning remote, work from home, office environments, calling for employers to force workers back to the office under the implication that it was now safe to do so.

    Nearly 90% of New York City residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine (left) and 82% of the population is fully vaccinated (right)

    Nearly 90% of New York City residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine (left) and 82% of the population is fully vaccinated (right)

    Cases in the state continue to rise, just as they are across the nation. 

    New daily cases in the state have grown by 30 percent since Thanksgiving, from around 7,000 cases per day then to nearly 10,000 now. 

    The state is approaching the 10,000 new daily case mark for the first time since March.

    Statewide death totals remain low, though - possibly a credit to the effectiveness of the vaccines - and have remained steady around 30 to 40 per day over the past few weeks. 

    The holiday season was brutal to the state last year, though - before the vaccines were widely available - with cases getting up to 16,000 per day, and deaths per day reaching the 200s.

    New York officials are also having to deal with the specter of the new Omicron variant.

    The state has recorded 21 of the 77 confirmed cases of the new variant confirmed in the U.S.

    Another case recorded in Minnesota was in a man that had recently traveled to New York City for a convention in Manhattan.

    'Community spread requires a community-minded solution, as the Omicron variant emerges and the overwhelmingly dominant Delta variant continues to circulate,' Health Commissioner Dr Mary Bassett said in a statement. 

    'We have the tools we need to protect against the virus - and now we must ensure we use them.'

    The variant was first discovered by South African health officials during the week of Thanksgiving.

    The strain includes more than 50 mutations, including 30 on its spike protein, which many experts believe make it able to evade protection provided by the vaccines.

    Cases of the variant detected have been relatively minor when compared to those of the Delta variant so far, though, a positive sign that Omicron may not be particularly dangerous strain of the virus.

    In New York City, strict vaccine requirements are set to go into effect by the end of the year.

    Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio announced that private employers in his city that have in-person works would have to institute a vaccine requirement.

    Children as young as five years old will also have to show proof of full vaccination before being able to enter dining, fitness or entertainment venues.

    He called the controversial measure a 'pre-emptive strike' as cases began to rise once again in the city.

    New cases in New York have increased 60 percent since the Thanksgiving holiday, from around 1,500 cases per day to over 2,400 per day being recorded.

    Deaths from Covid being recorded in the city remain minimal.

    The national Covid situation is beginning to spiral out of control during the holiday season again this year. 

    America is averaging around 120,000 new daily Covid cases, a 30 percent increase over the past two weeks.

    Deaths in the U.S. are up 18 percent over the past two weeks, up to nearly 1,300 per week, and the 62,000 Americans in the hospital due to severe cases of the virus is a 20 percent increase over the past two weeks.  

    Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10296813/New-York-implement-indoor-mask-mandate-public-places.html?EdNo=222

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