A New York judge has struck down the state’s mask mandate one week before it was due to expire, ruling the governor did not have authority to impose the rule without approval from the state legislature.
The mandate was reintroduced by Governor Kathy Hochul in December 2021, but state legislators had ruled in March that New York was no longer under a state of emergency, limiting her and the health commissioner’s powers.
This meant the new measures forcing New Yorkers to wear masks in all indoor spaces, which carried fines of up to $1,000 for those who did not comply, were unenforceable and are now void, Judge Thomas Rademaker has ruled.
It was latest setback for executive branch officials at state and federal levels after much legal wrangling over the issue of mask mandates in different states.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court also blocked President Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses.
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A judge in Texas last week ruled that Biden could not require federal employees to be vaccinated.
Hochul, a Democrat, vowed to fight back, saying in a statement: ‘We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are 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,’ Hochul said.