New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during an event at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in New York City, November 10, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

New York governor Kathy Hochul (D.) has extended the state’s mask mandate amid ongoing litigation and court battles over the policy. The rule requires residents to wear a face mask in all indoor venues except for establishments that require proof of vaccination.

The requirement was reinstated after an appeals court granted a stay, temporarily reversing the ruling of a New York State Supreme Court judge who struck it down last week.

“We didn’t know at the time when we put in our mask or vaccine requirement to protect people as this Omicron surge was spiking  . . . what January and February look like,” Hochul said Friday.

“We still don’t know much beyond where we are right now. But again, the trend is much more positive, and that is why I want to talk about the fact that we’ll have a temporary extension of our business mask or vaccine policy.”

Suggesting the policy may not be permanent, Hochul said the state will revisit the policy “every two weeks now so we can be ready to give businesses the notice they’ve been waiting for.”

Under the rule, the penalty for noncompliance by patrons includes a maximum fine of $1,000 per incident.

The mandate has been extended through February 1, after it first went into effect in December, in response to the surge of Omicron cases sweeping the state.

Drama has erupted in the state over enforcement of the mandate. Hochul’s mask mandate for children and faculty K–12 public schools remains unchanged, but some districts have challenged that by making the requirement optional. To some state representatives, Hochul’s mask rule for private indoor businesses doesn’t seem practical.

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, told Politico that “this is simply not something that is enforceable, other than using your bully pulpit to tell people you’re going to enforce it.” While recommending mask-wearing is fine, Molinaro implied, coercion is a waste of government resources.

“This order would require the health department to send a $1,000 fine to the public library if you or I happened to walk through the door without a mask on,” he said. “That is not a practical or appropriate way to get people to do things that you’d want them to.”

In blocking the policy last week, Nassau County State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker wrote in his opinion that a large-scale masking order should not be decided at the executive or even judicial level. While Hochul’s intentions “appear to be well aimed squarely at doing what they believe is right to protect the citizens of New York State, they must take their case to the State Legislature” — which has the authority to issue Covid-related mandates,” he said.

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