NY adds day care mask mandate, Governors Ball COVID vaccine incentive

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Kathy Hochul announced a series of universal mask requirements Wednesday, including at all child and day care centers as well as inside state regulated residential and congregate care programs, such as substance abuse treatment facilities.

The requirement applies to New York State Office of Children and Family Services-licensed and -registered child care centers, home-based group family and family child care programs, after-school child care programs and enrolled legally exempt group programs during operational hours.

She said implementing the mask regulation in child care programs will provide consistency between child care program children and school children, many of whom often share the same buildings.

The new masking requirements will also apply to congregate programs and facilities licensed, registered, operated, certified or approved by the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

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This includes but is not limited to certified residential and day programs, inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, substance abuse programs, juvenile detention programs, juvenile residential facilities, congregate foster care programs, runaway and homeless youth, domestic violence and other shelter programs.

The requirements apply to anyone medically able to tolerate wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

"With the Delta variant on the rise, requiring masks at state-regulated child care, mental health, and substance abuse facilities is a key part of our broader strategy for slowing the spread of the virus, reopening our economy safely, and protecting vulnerable members of our population," Hochul said. "For children under 12 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, masks are the best line of defense against COVID-19 infection. This new mask requirement ensures that children in our child care facilities receive the same protection as children in our schools."

The new mask requirement in child care facilities brings New York State into compliance with federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued in July that recommends universal indoor masking for anyone age two and older who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is medically able to wear a mask. It also brings child care facilities in alignment with school masking requirements announced on Hochul's first day in office.

Hochul also announced new efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and prepare for booster shots upon FDA approval.

To continue to support vaccinating school-aged New Yorkers, 125 free tickets to the upcoming Governors Ball Music Festival are available to individuals who receive their first vaccine dose at a #VaxtoSchool pop-up location.

Hochul said she has directed the state Department of Health to authorize basic emergency medical technicians to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, which adds more than 2,000 fully trained vaccinators back into the state's program.

An additional 50,000 basic EMTs will be able to receive the required training in order to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses.

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"More than four in five adult New Yorkers have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and while we are significantly outpacing most other states with our high vaccination rate, the fact remains that those who are still unvaccinated are significantly more likely to experience severe symptoms and end up hospitalized," Hochul said. "The vaccine works, but only if we take it, and that is why we are using creative incentives for people who still need to get their shot and putting in place the necessary offense to beat back the virus once more."

The required training for EMTs can be completed online or in-person. Licensed EMTs will become a state-approved vaccinator by demonstrating skill competency online or in-person.

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