State judge grants temporary stay for indoor mask mandate
A state judge has granted a temporary stay for the state's indoor mask mandate, meaning the rule is back in effect.
The appellate judge in Brooklyn heard from both sides during a 30-minute virtual hearing before temporarily blocking a lower court's ruling from Monday that found the same mandate "unconstitutional."
An attorney for the state argued the Department of Health can make public health regulations during a pandemic.
The opposing lawyer said the mandate is "unenforceable" because it wasn't properly put in place to begin with.
The judge in Monday's lower court ruling said neither Gov. Kathy Hochul nor the state health commissioner had the power to enact this mandate.
Hochul disagreed and applauded Tuesday’s ruling.
"I don't want to keep any safety requirements in place a day longer than necessary, but I will not do it a day before we can do it safely," said Hochul.
Masks are once again required in all public indoor settings, including schools after a chaotic start to Tuesday when some districts didn't enforce the mandate.”
White Plains-based attorney and former Appellate justice, Robert Spolzino gives some insight into how this may play out.
"It doesn't mean they will not set it aside, but I think there's a heavy weight when high state officials say this is important from a public policy perspective," says Robert Spolzino, executive partner at Abrams Fensterman.
A four-judge appellate panel could review the case as soon as Friday when the next hearing is scheduled.
State lawmakers say they are waiting for the outcome of this case before committing to mandating masks through legislation, though Hochul said that option is on the table.
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