A judge rules that New York’s indoor mask requirement is unconstitutional


Correspondent in New York

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A New York judge has ruled that the state mandate that makes the mask mandatory indoors to prevent the proliferation of Covid-19 cases is unconstitutional.

Thomas Rademacher, Nassau County Magistrate, thus overthrew the order imposed by the governor of the state of New York, Kathy Hochul, by which the mask was mandatory in public interior spaces -such as schools, residences or public transport- and that forced companies also to demand protection or obligation to present proof of vaccination.

Hochul, who took office last September after the resignation of his predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, for his sexual harassment scandals, imposed the order last December for a duration of one month.

It happened at a time when in New York, which was the global epicenter of the pandemic in its first months, cases were skyrocketing due to the impact of the Omicron variant.

Shortly thereafter, the state Department of Health and its commissioner, Mary Basset, they extended the mandate another two weeks, with an expiration for next February 1.

Hochul’s decision was strongly contested in parts of New York state, where the electorate is more conservative than in the main population center, New York City. Was protests in groups of parents -who were protesting the mandatory mask for students- and businessmen, and their demands have just been recognized by the justice system.

Judge Rademacher overturned the mandate not because of its substance but because of the process chosen by the authorities to impose the mask mandatory: they did not have the approval of the state legislative bodies.

“While Commissioner Bassett and Governor Hochul’s intentions may be well-placed to do what they believe is the right thing to do to protect the citizens of New York State, they must bring their passage to the state legislature», he wrote in his opinion.

Those who opposed the mandate argued that Hochul no longer had the emergency powers that Cuomo had enjoyed during much of the pandemic, and that they were taken from him in the midst of his scandals.

It remains to be seen whether the decision affects similar local mandates, such as that of New York City, the largest in the US For now, Hochul has announced that he will appeal the court decision. According to his Government, the appeal will mean that, for the time being, the mandate remains in force until the next judicial instance makes a decision.

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