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NY governor flip-flops once again on her mask mandate

New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has found that she really likes the power that comes with her office.

But she seems to be having trouble keeping her messaging straight when it comes to giving orders to her subjects.

On Friday, Dec. 10, the governor declared that she was imposing new mask requirements for all New Yorkers. Her new order mandated that masks must be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses and venues have instituted a vaccine requirement. According to Hochul’s edict, beginning Dec. 13 and stretching through Jan. 15, all indoor businesses would be required to ask customers for proof of vaccination before entering or force them to wear a mask.

On the day the new order was to go into effect, Hochul backtracked after the leadership in a majority of New York’s counties told the governor to pound sand and indicated they would not be enforcing her order. The governor announced that the state would leave it to individual counties to enforce the mandate.

“We expect that they will, we hope that they will, it’s in the best interest of public health,” she said. “But it also comes down to individual businesses doing the right thing as well. We’re asking businesses to protect their customers and to protect their employees.”

A week after caving to county leaders, Hochul again reversed course, and on Monday said she would have state inspectors conduct “spot checks” to enforce her order, the New York Post reported. The announcement of state spot-checkers reversed her previous reversal that said counties would be responsible for enforcing the mandate.

“We’ve always said we’re going to leave it up to the counties, and we’re going to be making sure that it gets done from the counties,” she said, adding that the her government will “be sending around inspectors to do spot checks to see what’s going on.”

She claimed she wasn’t targeting the rebellious counties but was instead just “lending resources where it’s needed.” Hochul also said she would be making $65 million available to counties to help enforce the new mask protocols, including for finding “creative ways for enforcement.”

Hours later, Hochul’s office scrambled to backtrack on her spot-check threats, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. The state won’t be conducting spot checks — that will be up to local officials.

“Enforcement will be done by local health departments,” Hochul’s spokeswoman, Hazel Crampton-Hays, said late Monday, the paper reported. “Governor Hochul made $65 million available today for counties’ enforcement needs, including personnel costs associated with spot checks and other enforcement. We are all in this together as we fight this winter surge.”

The office added that the $65 million being made available to counties can be used for distributing booster shots in counties that are not enforcing the mask mandate, the Democrat & Chronicle said.

Of course, that could all change again tomorrow.

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