New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected Wednesday to drop a mandate that forced businesses to either seek proof of full vaccination or demand mask-wearing indoors, making her the latest Democratic leader to relent on divisive COVID-19 rules as the omicron surge eases.
The governor’s plan to let the mandate expire Thursday instead of renewing it was confirmed by The New York Times, which cited three persons briefed on the decision. It is unclear whether the governor will renew a separate mandate that applies to schools.
Ms. Hochul imposed the mandate as omicron took hold last year but it sparked legal fights and protests around the state, particularly among conservatives on Long Island.
The governor faces a reelection battle this year, and some in the Democratic Party see mandates as a political liability as society tries to pivot toward living with the virus.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is ending a state mask mandate on Feb. 15 but is keeping the requirement in schools for now, while New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said schools and day care centers would not be subject to a mask mandate as of March 7.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.