The Adams administration’s mask mandate for children under 5 can remain in place for now, a state appellate court ruled Friday evening.
The stay comes after a Staten Island court ruling earlier in the day struck down the city’s mask mandate, calling it "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable."
“Every decision we make is with our children’s health and safety in mind,” Mayor Eric Adams tweeted Friday evening, after the appeals court judge issued the stay. “Children between 2 and 4 should continue to wear their masks in school and daycare come Monday.”
After the Staten Island court ruling, the mayor publicly stated his intentions to challenge the ruling, saying, "At this point, from the judge's ruling, I would continue to say to parents that you should keep your masks on your children.”
"If the stay is successful then it goes back to what we had in place,” Adams added.
Last week, Adams had announced the city would likely drop the mask mandate for this age group in school and day care settings if numbers remained low.
But with the rise in cases due to the BA.2 subvariant, health officials said the city is pivoting its strategy.
“That's why we’re recommending to wait a little bit longer before making masks optional for this age group,” Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. “We're looking for the earliest opportunity to do this safely and we can assure you that day is coming for your children, but for now we want keep an eye on this latest uptick to ensure that our youngest New Yorkers remain safe as we see an increase in cases due to the more infectious BA.2 subvariant."
Health officials also warned that if cases continue to rise, the city would be changing its risk level category.
"We're seeing cases rise across the city and if they continue on this trajectory we expect to move into a higher risk category in a matter of weeks, which is why we're making this decision," said Dr. Vasan.