‘Staying Prepared and Not Panicking,’ New York Mayor Refuses to Reinstate Mask Mandate

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
May 20, 2022 Updated: May 20, 2022

New York Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday that he won’t be reinstating the mask mandate despite the city health commissioner’s advisory amid a rise in the number of daily cases and the official current alert level turning “high.”

Adams replied flatly with a “No,” when asked during a press conference if he would recommend reinstating the mask mandate, specifically in schools. “I’m proud of what we’re doing and how we’re not allowing COVID to outsmart us. We’re staying prepared and not panicking,” he said.

The number of hospitalizations and deaths “are stable.” Regarding schools, Adams said they were testing more effectively.

“We have all the tools that we did not have when we first set the color-coding system,” referring to the alert level colors, which is currently at orange. This level indicates there is “high” community spread, a substantial pressure on the health care system and the corresponding advice is to wear masks in any public indoor setting.

“NEW: Today I’m issuing a Commissioner’s Advisory urging ALL New Yorkers to wear a mask indoors. NYC is approaching a “high” level of COVID-19 alert which represents high community spread,” wrote the health commissioner Ashwin Vasan in a May 16 tweet.

Adams concluded the answer by saying that new variants will continue to come and that it appears as though there is a “new norm” in the city and country. “If with every variant that comes we move into shut down thoughts, we move into panicking, we’re not going to function as a city.”

The 7-day average for the number of cases has gone up over 36 percent from the beginning of May and is currently at 4,093. However, hospitalizations have gone down from 72 on May 1 to 68 on May 16.

Similarly, the number of deaths has not gone up significantly, staying in single figures since the mid of March, according to the latest data from NYC Health.

Adams had previously refused to follow the health department’s recommendation to reinstate K-12 public school mask requirements and Key2NYC—vaccine mandate for indoor activities like dining and drinking—when the code level was “medium.” He removed them during the early days of his mayoral tenure.

However, he has kept in place a mask mandate for toddlers.

“We set a policy in place, not a law in place. I follow laws. I make policy,” Adams said when asked whether his administration was finding it difficult to follow the color-coded recommendations set by the health department.

“We have all of these tools that we did not have when we first set the color-coded system.”

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.