New York’s mask mandate will remain in effect while the Governor's office appeals a ruling from a lower court judge overturning it under a full stay order.

The decision from an appellate panel of judges on Monday, January 31 follows an appeals court judge’s decision last week that temporarily restored the directive one day after the initial ruling declared the mandate unconstitutional.

Getty Images/ Halfpoint
Getty Images/ Halfpoint

The state’s health commissioner had put the mask mandate back into effect in mid-December in an effort to curb the winter spike in COVID-19 cases. It has now been extended to February 10.

A group of parents sued, and in the initial ruling, a judge said the governor and the health department didn’t have the authority to require masks be worn in schools and businesses without emergency power or legislative approval.

The back and forth about the requirement has caused confusion in schools and businesses, some of which made mask-wearing optional following the lower court ruling only have to tell customers, staff and students to wear masks again the next day when the temporary stay was ordered.

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Both Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James praised the granting of the full stay to keep the regulations in place for the duration of the appeal. The Democrats say the mandate has been effective in efforts to fight the coronavirus and bring COVID-19 infection numbers down.

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