New York state will provide $65 million to counties to help efforts to enforce the state’s mask mandate that is place until at least Jan. 15, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday.
This comes after many county leaders, who publicly said they supported the mask mandate, said they would not enforce it because they did not have the resources to police mask-wearing in businesses and public indoor places.
Hochul said about $1 million of that will be given specifically to smaller counties and $2 million for larger ones.
The governor also said that state health inspectors will be doing checks of indoor mask policy compliance to help local governments enforce it.
"We're not going to be doing anything other than lending the support to them," Hochul said.
The state will also provide 6 million masks to county emergency services who can then distribute them to various places as needed, like schools.
The state hit another new record of COVID-19 cases with 23,391 — a four-time increase in cases from last week. Among the new cases is the state's health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett. But Hochul said the number of hospitalizations, while higher than they have been lately, are still not near where they were in past surges.
“This is not March of 2020. This is not even December of 2020,” Hochul said.
In addition, she said that there is "some stability" with hospital capacity at this point amid staffing shortages.
Hochul encouraged parents to make use of the coming holiday school break to get their children the COVID-19 vaccine and continued to encourage people to get booster shots.