HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. - New York's indoor mask mandate took effect on Monday. Mask-wearing is now required in all indoor public places unless the business or venue implements a COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Long Island Main Street Alliance founder Eric Alexander said the mandate puts business owners, who are already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, in a tricky position.
"A lot of small businesses are frustrated they have to be the referees essentially related to public health," he said. "Some businesses said the state should ticket people. Why do we have to be the folks that get in the middle?"
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said that counties and their local health departments are in charge of enforcing the mandate. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to $1,000 for each violation.
"If people had gotten vaccinated, gotten the boosters and we were still at 1%, we wouldn't be having this conversation," Hochul said. "I've warned about this for months."
But some counties — including Dutchess and Rockland — don't plan on enforcing it. And the incoming Nassau County executive, a Republican, made it clear he has no intention of enforcing it when he is sworn in next month.
Some doctors have told FOX 5 NY that they believe the mandate will move us in the right direction and ultimately prevent another lockdown.
"Businesses are open — this is what needs to be done in other areas so we can stay open," said Dr. David Battinelli, a senior vice president at Northwell Health.
The governor called the mandate a temporary measure. It will be in effect until mid-January, at which time Hochul will reevaluate it.