New lawsuit challenges NYC mask mandate for kids under 5 as measures set to end

ByAaron Katersky, ABC News via WABC logo
Thursday, March 31, 2022
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The parents filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from issuing new mandates without authorization from the state legislature.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City lifted its mask mandate for kids under five starting Monday but a group of parents of young children is moving ahead with a lawsuit that accused the city of enacting unconstitutional mandates and sought to prevent the city from issuing new mandates without authorization from the state legislature.

The parents will be in a Staten Island courtroom Friday morning to argue the city lacked the authority to impose the mandate that required all people in a child care setting, age 2 and older, who are able to medically tolerate a mask to wear one indoors.

Children under five will no longer be required to wear masks in school starting April 4 but an attorney for the parents said it doesn't matter.

"The relief that I'm asking for in the lawsuit is not moot," the attorney, Michael Chessa, told ABC News. "If you want to put masks on kids this should go through the legislature."

The lawsuit accused the city of imposing an "arbitrary and capricious" mandate and said the city failed to explain the metrics or data behind it.

"The way the mayor lifted it just now is at his whim," Chessa said.

In announcing his decision to lift the mandate effective April 4, Mayor Eric Adams said he wanted to make sure it would be safe.

"After removing the mask for our K through 12, we wanted to have two incubation periods to make sure that we're not seeing a serious problem," Adams said on March 22. "We can't go by the noise. We have to go by the science and we have to go by the safety of our children."

In other lawsuits against mask mandates judges have upheld the city's authority to impose them.

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