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New York State to Drop Indoor Mask Mandate This Week

Hochul called the general mask mandate temporary when she first imposed it Dec. 31 as the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus was driving a surge in COVID-19 caseloads that threatened to strain healthcare systems.
A woman receives protective face masks while she waits in line at a food bank at St. Bartholomew Church, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York City, New York, U.S., May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/
A woman receives protective face masks while she waits in line at a food bank at St. Bartholomew Church, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York City, New York, U.S., May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/

New York Governor Kathy Hochul plans to end her state’s mask mandate for most indoor public places on Wednesday, The New York Times reported, joining several states lifting face-covering rules in the weeks ahead as the latest COVID-19 surge loosens its grip.

The Democratic governor intends to let the mask mandate, which has been challenged in court, expire as scheduled rather than seeking to renew it, The Times reported on Tuesday, citing three individuals who the newspaper said were briefed on Hochul’s decision.

The newspaper said it was unclear whether Hochul’s administration would renew or drop a separate compulsory masking rule in New York public schools that is due to lapse in two weeks.

Representatives for the governor could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

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