What Are Your Rights: Changes To New York Mask Mandate

Recorded on February 9, 2022

Governor Hochul announced changes to the state mask mandate, which a New York Supreme Court Judge recently found unconstitutional. The state is challenging this in court. When the mask mandate expires, how will it impact the legal challenge to the mandate that’s currently underway?

Managing Partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti, LLP is on CBS6 to help explain the issue.

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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: Governor Hochul, short time ago, she’s announcing changes to the state mask mandate, which a New York Supreme Court Judge recently found unconstitutional. That’s something that the state is challenging in court. And here to help us to answer some of these questions and explain the issue is Managing Partner Paul Harding from the law firm, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.

Paul: Hi. How are you?

Interviewer: Doing well. Okay. So, when the mask mandate expires for indoor public places in the State of New York and businesses, how is this going to impact the legal challenge to the mandate that’s currently underway?

Paul: Okay. So, we all know what the mandate was. It was all vaccinated, proof that they are to enter your business or everyone had to wear a mask. Well, recently, Nassau County judge, Supreme Court judge said, unconstitutional, kind of, one of these executive orders that we’re always, kind of, wrestling with. How good are they? How strong are they? And so, it’s been overturned. But we have checks and balances. The case is now in the Appellate Division and they’re going to decide, “Hey, is it true? Do we [inaudible 00:01:14] what the judge said realistic or are we gonna overturn the judge?” So, the question now is, will the court continue to litigate that issue? The answer is, we don’t know. If they think it’s an important issue they might say, “Look, it’s moot currently because the mask mandate has been lifted. But it’s such an important issue. We want to get the answer. We’re gonna continue on deciding whether or not this judge’s decision was valid.”

Interviewer: And how do you see… Well, we’re, kind of, retouching on that. How do you see this whole, sort of, playing out if the mask mandate is going to be lifted?

Paul: Yeah. You know, it’s funny. What they should do is just, sort of, “Well, it’s moot, it ended.” The very issue the judge overturned is no longer in effect, and that’s probably what I think is gonna happen. But could they continue with that legal challenge, because it really is a question of executive orders versus laws, right? So, if the court wants to go down that road, we’ll see this case continue. If the court says, “We’re exhausted with this whole mask, the whole executive order issue is gonna be moot. We’re gonna withdraw it because, in essence, the outcome has been reached. It doesn’t mean they can’t wear a mask.” It doesn’t mean some businesses still can’t ask for vaccination cards. But what I see it happening is just the temperature going down in local businesses where that sort of tension that you can, kind of, feel or you hear about will slowly, but it will evaporate.

Interviewer: That was Paul Harding, Managing Partner of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, giving us some insight into the lifting of the mask mandate in New York State, which is happening tomorrow. To give us episode ideas and to see our past coverage looking into your rights, head to our website, cbs6albany.com.

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