Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman won’t enforce Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new statewide mask-or-vaccine mandate for when he officially takes office on Jan. 1 – joining a growing list of county officials opposed to the new rule.
“Come January 1st, my administration will move Nassau forward with a commonsense approach that acknowledges the facts, science and progress made by our residents while also protecting businesses and jobs from any further damage created by government mandates,” Blakeman, a Republican, said in a statement on Monday.
“Nassau County is not in crisis, and should not be painted with the same broad brush as the rest of the state. Ninety-seven percent of adults in Nassau County have received at least their first dose of the vaccine and Nassau hospitals have adequate capacity to handle existing demand.”
A spokesperson for outgoing Democratic County Executive Laura Curran said the county will “continue responding to complaints” until she’s out of office on Dec. 31.
Hochul’s new mandate requires all workers and customers to wear masks in public indoor spaces if they are not mandated to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The governor said it’s up to local governments to enforce the rule and offending businesses could face civil and criminal penalties, plus a max $1,000 fine per violation.
Hochul has said the measure is necessary as virus cases have risen upstate and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed.