FLORAL PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- It is not a countdown to Christmas - it is the countdown to the newest New York State mask mandate again.
Governor Hochul argues returning to masks is about protecting New Yorkers from COVID and its variants, especially heading into the holiday season.
In Nassau County where COVID numbers have inched up every day last week, a new mandate will go into effect on Monday - masks for all indoor establishments that don't check for vaccines.
I have to protect people but also the economy. I want to make sure little businesses hurt so hard and were shut down, we have to prevent that from happening," said Governor Hochul.
Since New York City has a vaccine mandate for indoor dining and entertainment, the state masking rule will not take effect, but in other parts of the state where there are no vaccine mandates, businesses will have to ask patrons and workers to mask up and risk a $1,000 fine.
Kemesha Salmon, the owner of TP Toys and Accessories in New Rochelle just wants to make wishes come true, but fears the mandate could trigger hostile encounters with the customers they are trying to serve.
"It's just putting us at physical risk. I've seen different situations where people ask for masks or a vax card and it became physical. I don't want to put us in that situation," Salmon said.
Health experts believe the current surge in COVID is being fueled partly by colder weather, which is driving people indoors, as well as the delta variant and the omicron variant, which are both spreading.
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