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When is a mandate not a mandate? Hochul says counties free to ignore mask “mandate”

On the day a mask mandate went into effect in public spaces in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul said the state will not enforce it, saying it’s up to counties to decide.

The Governor said Monday “ I do hope that the businesses will enforce this. And individuals will understand how important it is. We have left it to the counties to enforce, so counties can choose not to enforce. But we hope counties are enforcing.” Hochul’s announcement comes as many counties have already said they have no intention of enforcing the mandate, which gave businesses the choice between making all their customers wear masks, or checking for vaccination status.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The chair of Livingston County Board of Supervisors issued a statement Monday saying the county would not enforce the mandate.

Related: Supervisors chair: Livingston County will not enforce Hochul mask mandate

When the Cuomo administration put restrictions on bars and restaurants in the spring of 2020, they came with the threat of closure if state liquor inspectors found violations. With no such threat looming for businesses now, it remains to be seen how many will choose to make their customers mask up.