Mask appeal battle continues, vaccine mandate deadline approaches in New York City

Coronavirus update for New York
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- An appeals court says New York Governor Kathy Hochul's mask mandate can stay in place at least until March when the court will hear arguments in the case.

Hochul says it's too early to make changes to the state's mask mandate as she appeared with military medical personnel at North Central Bronx Hospital on Tuesday.

The mask mandate has been officially extended through Feb. 10 for businesses and the 21st in schools.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and concerned parents spoke out about the mandate Tuesday morning.
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Stacey Sager has more on the growing debate against New York's mask mandate.

Blakeman says there have been no metrics provided from the governor on when the mask mandate would end.

He added positivity in the state is down 87% from three weeks ago and 90% in Nassau County.

"This is about control and about parents not having the right to decide what's best for their children," Blakeman said.

Blakeman went on to say that if you wear the N95 or KN95, it doesn't matter if someone else isn't wearing a mask. He feels that the people who want to wear masks can wear a mask, and those who don't shouldn't have to.

"We're not going to take another month of our kids being masked against the choice of their parents, we're going to speak up and have our voices heard but we are going to do it in a peaceful way," Blakeman said.

Governor Hochul did agree that the number of COVID cases was improving.

"We're in a much better place," she said.

However, she does not plan to lift the mask mandate ahead of the upcoming deadlines.

"We're not prepared to throw in the towel and say we're done fighting COVID," she cautioned. "We are so far from that. We are not taking our foot off the gas when it comes to fighting the pandemic. The masks are one element of that that will be assessed."

One element to lifting the mask mandate, according to the governor, will be if more children get vaccinated.

"I want more kids vaccinated, that will be a driver," Hochul said. "I want to see more children vaccinated to know they are safe when they are in schools."

Meantime, New York City Mayor Eric Adams says NYPD officers and other city workers who are still not vaccinated despite the mandate to do so now face a February 11 deadline to get the shot or face termination.

"There must be rules and we must follow them, the rule is to get vaccinated if you are a city employee, you have to follow that," Adams said. "And if you have a reason you can't, there's an avenue. Put in for a waiver or put in that for some reason you can't comply, and we'll look at that. But if you didn't do that, and didn't follow the rules, we sent a letter out to you."

New York City Schools are rolling back remote learning and now only offering at-home flexibility for students who are physically out sick with COVID. If you're healthy you must be in class.

ALSO READ | 17-year-old student lobbies to get Asian American history taught in New Jersey public schools
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Christina Huang lobbied for Asian American history to be taught in public schools, and her hard work has paid off and is now law in New Jersey. CeFaan Kim reports on this story.

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