New York governor orders masks indoors for businesses without COVID-19 vaccine requirement

(Reuters) – New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Friday that starting next week, face coverings must be worn inside all businesses and venues unless they have implemented a vaccine requirement, as cases of COVID-19 rise in the state.

The measure will be in effect from Dec. 13 to Jan. 15 in order to curb the spread of the virus during the holidays when more time is spent indoors shopping and gathering, she said in a statement.

“We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet,” Hochul said.

Governor of New York Kathy Hochul arrives to speak at an event at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in the Chinatown area in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

While 80% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, the state has seen a recent surge in the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 46,000 residents.

Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has jumped by 43% and hospitalizations have increased by 29%, state data showed.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot

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