Mayor Eric Adams announced on Friday that New York City will seek to retain its school mask mandate for children under the age of 5 and that the city will appeal an order by a judge on Staten Island to remove it.
Adams also said the city would ask to stay so that the mask mandate remains in effect. The mayor had earlier said the mandate would be lifted from Monday if the coronavirus cases did not rise.
The initial ruling by Richmond County State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio removed the requirement for kids aged 2 to 4 wear to wear masks, rendering it immediately unenforceable in schools and daycares and calling it “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” according to court documents.
“It’s effective immediately,” attorney Michael Chessa said Friday after arguing for a permanent injunction of the ongoing face covering requirement. “It strikes down the order from the department of health.”
“All throughout the city every child ages 2 to 4 everywhere doesn’t have to wear a mask,” he said. However, hours after the judgement, Adams said the city will seek an appeal and requested a stay to keep the controversial rule in place when youngsters return to school Monday.
“I think it’s imperative that due to the rise in cases that we’re seeing, as slight as they are; our plans were to take a week to assess the numbers before removing masks to 2- to 4-year-olds,” said Adams.
“Of course, we’re going to comply with any ruling from the judge. Our legal team is going to put in place an appeal and ask for a stay,” he said. “We truly believe this is within our powers to execute what is best for the City of New York,” he added.
Adams said the city’s overall positivity rate has climbed to 2.67 percent over the past week, higher than the rolling monthly average of 2.33 percent. The city’s medical professionals advised Adams to keep the mask mandate in place for toddlers, in part because there is no vaccine available yet for the age group, said City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SILLIVE.COM