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Chemung County says no to mask “mandate” enforcement

More counties say they won’t enforce what Governor Kathy Hochul calls a mandate, requiring masks to be used in indoor public spaces.

Chemung County officials, echoing the words of at least 20 others across the state, say they don’t have the resources to devote to enforcement. The Evening Tribune reports during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Chemung County had a page on its website where residents could complain about businesses that weren’t following then-Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders. Chemung County Administrator Christopher Moss says that page is gone and the county has no plans to bring it back.

Related: What counties will enforce state’s COVID mask mandate since Hochul says enforcement is locally optional?

The so-called mandate took effect Monday morning, but that same morning, Governor Hochul announced that the state would not enforce it, but urging counties and businesses to do so. Even some counties that say they will enforce the ban appear less than committed to doing so, saying they will use warnings and education before handing out any penalties.

Governor Hochul says hospitalizations are up 29% since Thanksgiving.