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County Executive Press Releases

Posted on: January 25, 2022

STATEMENT ON STATE MASK MANDATE

RENSSELAER COUNTY ISSUES STATEMENT ON COURT RULING ON STATE MASK MANDATE

Rensselaer County officials issued the following statement following a State Supreme Court Justice in Nassau County ruling the state’s mask mandate was unconstitutional and therefore, unenforceable.

The county had already stated the county would not be enforcing the state mask mandate, and is continuing in that position in the event of future mask mandates.

However, schools may still decide to follow the state mask mandate as the case is appealed and a stay on the Nassau County Supreme Court decision is issued. Residents, businesses and organizations should review any further appeals or stays to see if such actions are applicable to their organization or business.

STATEMENT FROM COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN

“The state’s mask mandate amounted to an overreach and the court made the right decision. Rensselaer County was the first county to oppose the state’s mask mandate in December and we believe the decision on wearing a mask should be left to the individual.”

“In responding to the lawsuit in Nassau, and at no other time during the pandemic, has the state provided a detailed breakdown of the health benefits associated with wearing a mask. That speaks very loudly to the issue, and the state has had considerable time to compile such data.”

“The failure of the state and other proponents of mandates to demonstrate the science that would support these dramatic steps are precisely why these mandates are challenged in court, and why these mandates have repeatedly been struck down by the courts.”

“These are the same tactics used by the state and the Cuomo administration and these tactics did not work and did not stop the increase in cases in the state.”

“We believe residents should be allowed to exercise common-sense, and take the steps necessary to protect their health and safety while not infringing on the rights of others. The state mandate as issued in December was unenforceable and would have created more stress and division among our residents two years into the pandemic.”

“That is why Rensselaer County said we would not enforce the mask mandate and why we will continue to not use county resources to enforce any future mask mandate. The state should drop any appeal on the mandate, and stop trying to force a mandate not supported by science, data or common-sense on the people of New York.”

“We understand schools may have a different legal relationship with the state, but would again ask the state to allow kids to go to school without masks. Data has shown that kids are far less susceptible to COVID-19 and in our county we have seen only a few kids of school age be required to be hospitalized or seek medical attention during two years of COVID-19.”

STATEMENT FROM PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR MARY FRAN WACHUNAS

“Our residents have shown great common-sense in responding to the pandemic. We are concerned that state is trying to force mask mandates but are reluctant or unable to demonstrate any science or data to support the mandate.”

“There are other steps residents can take to respond to COVID-19. Residents obviously have the ability to wear a mask if they choose to do. There are also numerous opportunities for vaccinations and boosters, including those sponsored by Rensselaer County, and kids ages 5 and older are able to be vaccinated.”

“Our resources in Rensselaer County need to be focused on providing vaccinations and the myriad of other health services provided by our department. We do not have the personnel or the resources needed to enforce any future mask mandates and the state should reconsider these actions.”

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