NYC mask mandate for children under 5 to remain in place

ByABC News via WABC logo
Saturday, April 2, 2022
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New York City's mask mandate for children ages 2-4 will remain in place. Naveen Dhaliwal has the details.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's mask mandate for children ages 2-4 will remain in place.

The city was granted a stay from an appeals court on Friday evening. Masks will now be back, starting on Monday.

The ruling clears the way for the city's youngest children to return to school and other childcare settings Monday with masks on, after Mayor Adams said he would delay ending the mandate.

"We are obviously disappointed. There was no reason the city needed to rush to the appellate division on a Friday afternoon just so a three year old could return to school in a mask," said Michael Cessa, an attorney for a group of parents who sued the city over the toddler mask mandate.

"We are seeing a slight uptick," Adams said. "We want to be prepared, not panicked."

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Earlier, Adams stressed the city cannot currently enforce the mask mandate for children under 5 years old, under the judges order, though he stressed they are still recommending the parents keep masks on children.

Dr. Vasan struck a note of concern while watching cases.

"Cases are definitely rising, and it's gotten our attention," he said. "If they continue on this trajectory, we expect to move to a higher risk category in a matter of weeks."

The city is now strongly recommending that everyone wear masks in public indoors.

"We are making the strong recommendation that New Yorkers of any age choose to wear a mask in indoor settings, according to their level of risk, according to their level of comfort," Dr. Vasan said. "That's our strong recommendation. That's why I'm wearing a mask. That's why many of you are wearing a mask."

Earlier Friday, Judge Ralph Porzio ruled from bench, saying he found the mandate to be arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable after a group of parents accused the city of enacting unconstitutional mandates and sought to prevent the city from issuing new mandates without authorization from the state legislature.

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The parents argued 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.

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

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