Walsh Responds to Gov. Hochul’s Confusing, Inconsistent Mask Guidance

Statement from Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C-Ballston)

“Yesterday, Gov. Hochul announced the expiration of her mask mandate for businesses statewide. While I welcome the news, this announcement was both too little and too late. Despite governors in neighboring states, such as Connecticut and New Jersey, giving kids, parents and school administrators a concrete timeline as to when they will lift the mask mandate in schools, our governor continues to take a confusing, wait-and-see approach. With COVID-19 rates drastically dropping and vaccination rates on the rise, there is no reason to delay this decision making until after mid-winter break.

"As evidenced by this morning’s student protest at Ballston Spa High School, our kids are sick and tired of the mask mandate. Treating students the same as nursing home residents - two very different populations with statistically different outcomes from the virus - is confusing and irrational. Students, teachers, administrators and staff who wish to continue wearing masks may continue to do so if they so choose. However, we must learn to live with this virus in our state and return to some sense of normalcy.

“The governor's plan to send thousands and thousands of test kits home with kids both before and after the mid-winter break is an illogical approach to determining the fate of mask mandates in schools. Rapid testing is an imperfect snapshot of positivity rates alone and does not speak to the reality that most people who contract Omicron have mild cases and many do not know they have it at all.

“This arbitrary governance that does not consult with the Legislature, a co-equal branch of government, only continues to hinder our state’s recovery. The inconsistency in directives only provides confusion for our constituents. We are no longer in a state of emergency even though Gov. Hochul and her administration continue to govern like we are.”