A New York state Supreme Court judge on Monday ruled Gov. Kathy Hochul's mask mandate unconstitutional.
The governor, a Democrat, does not have the authority to impose the mandate, and the state Legislature would have to debate and approve any laws that require masks in schools and other places, Judge Thomas Rademaker wrote in his decision, WHEC reported.
''My responsibility as Governor is to protect New Yorkers throughout this public health crisis, and these measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,'' Hochul said in a written response to the ruling. ''We strongly disagree with this ruling, and we are pursuing every option to reverse this immediately.''
Several counties had already said they would not enforce the mandate, which the governor had extended from Jan. 15 into February. It requires all indoor places to either have a vaccine mandate or require all patrons to wear masks.
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