Gov. Kathy Hochul had renewed a rule requiring masks or proof of vaccination at all indoor public places throughout the state in December, amid a winter virus surge, and said it would last a month. The state Health Department then extended the mandate an additional two weeks, to expire on Feb. 1.
In his six-page decision, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademaker wrote that Ms. Hochul and state health officials lacked the authority to enact the mask mandate without the approval of state lawmakers, and that it violated the state constitution. Regardless of the “well aimed” intentions of state officials, such authority is “entrusted solely to the State Legislature,” Justice Rademaker wrote.