New York Governor’s Office Says State Inspectors Won’t Perform Mask Mandate Checks

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 21, 2021

The office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Dec. 20 that the state wouldn’t send inspectors to businesses to see if business owners are complying with the Democrat’s indoor mask mandate, an apparent reversal of remarks Hochul made earlier in the day.

“Enforcement will be done by local health departments,” Hochul spokesperson Hazel Crampton-Hays told news outlets. “Governor Hochul made $65 million available today for counties’ enforcement needs, including personnel costs associated with spot checks and other enforcement. We are all in this together as we fight this winter surge.”

In two press briefings on the funding, Hochul had indicated that the state would help counties identify businesses out of compliance with the new mandate.

In one, she said the money would help counties, “whether it’s just getting out there and bringing masks to the businesses and putting up signs and having a call center so people can call in complaints, or sending a notice and a phone call, just to have the resources to do the right thing.”

“But the state will be involved as well,” Hochul said. “We’ll be sending around inspectors to do spot checks to see what’s going on.”

During the other briefing, Hochul said the state’s assistance would include “having some spot checks.”

The remarks contrasted with the governor’s comments delivered last week. She said it would be up to each county to enforce the mandate, which applies to all businesses that don’t impose a vaccination requirement.

A number of county officials have said they won’t enforce the mandate.

“My health department has critical things to do that are more important than enforcing this, and I think small businesses have been through enough already,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, a Republican, said recently. “God forbid the governor directs the state police to go out and enforce it.”

The $65 million from the state will be used for expenses incurred by counties and local health departments from when the mandate was announced on Dec. 10 through its expiration on Jan. 15, 2022.

Eligible expenses include staffing and other costs for any sites offering vaccines, boosters, or tests, and personnel costs associated with enforcing the mask mandate.

“Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are the surest ways to fight COVID and stay safe, and this funding will help counties across the state enforce the reasonable, responsible and effective mask-or-vax mandate in place until mid-January,” Hochul said in a statement.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.