Staten Island’s mask rules and regulation for young children were overturned by a court on Friday, but Mayor Eric Adams promised to keep the law in place immediately after, citing a new COVID-19 variation and stating the city is appealing the decision.
According to lawsuit filings, Richmond County State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio knocked down the municipal regulation mandating children aged 2 to 4 to wear masks, declaring it “arbitrary, capricious, and absurd” and rendering it unenforceable in public schools and childcare centers.
After appealing for a permanent injunction against the continued face-covering rule, attorney Michael Chessa stated Friday, “It’s effective now.” “It invalidates the department of health’s decree.”
“Every youngster aged 2 to 4 does not have to wear a mask everywhere in the city,” he stated. However, only hours after the ruling, Adams announced that the city will file an appeal and asked a stay to ensure that the contentious regulation remains in place when students return to school on Monday.
“I believe it’s critical that, given the increase in instances we’re seeing, as little as they are, we take a week to analyze the data before removing masks from 2 to 4 year olds,” Adams said. “Of course, we’re going to follow the judge’s decision.” “Our legal team will file an appeal and request a stay,” he explained.
“We honestly think we are in a position to do what is best for the City of New York,” he continued. The city’s overall optimism rate has risen to 2.67 percent in the last week, above the rolling monthly average of 2.33 percent, according to Adams.
According to City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, the city’s medical staff encouraged Adams to maintain the mask regulation in place for toddlers, in part because there is no vaccination available for the age group yet.
Chessa claimed in oral hearings that the November mask mandate for tots was unlawful, and Judge Porzio agreed. “All I want to do is be happy for myself and all of the parents I’ve met along the way.” It allows us to choose whether or not we want our children to be disguised. There’s nothing here that’s anti-mask. Chessa, the father of a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old, said, “It’s for parental choice.”
On Friday, parents applauded the decision, saying it was long past time to repeal the contentious masking regulation. Lisa Marks, the mother of a 3-year-old daughter who feels the masks have hampered her growth, said, “I’m very thrilled that the court agreed to the same common sense solution simply to have an option, a mask choice.”
“She joined a class of children and hopes to form bonds with them and form friendships. “Kids can’t understand emotions if you have stuff covering your face,” she explained. “We are happy to have his last months of preschool mask free,” Danyela Souza Egorov, a mother of a 4-year-old, said.
Parents have been protesting the need for months, claiming that disguising young children is unscientific and hinders their social development. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, stated on Friday that he neither supported nor denounced the verdict.
“The mask mandate for children under the age of six is now before the courts. While it goes through the legal process, we need to focus on other steps that are helping to keep schools safe, such as pushing immunizations for those who are eligible, proactive testing, and adhering to cleaning and ventilation regulations, according to Mulgrew.
Mayor Eric Adams said last week that the requirement for the city’s youngest inhabitants will be eliminated beginning Monday if severe COVID-19 case counts remain low, following weeks of pushing to overturn the rule. On Friday, he asked New Yorkers to wear masks again if they’re in a public setting where other people’s vaccination status is unknown, but he didn’t go so far as to make it necessary.
This week, Adams revealed that unvaccinated professional athletes and entertainers would be excluded from the city’s private sector vaccination mandate, allowing them to play sports and perform in the Big Apple once more – a policy decision that prompted widespread criticism from across the political spectrum.
When asked how he justify masking children under the age of five while allowing unvaccinated athletes to participate in sports, Adams shrugged and said, “I listen to the advise of my physicians, and this is what the doctors informed me to do.”
Speaker of the City Council Adrienne Adams, who had avoided criticizing the mayor for months, was among the chorus of opponents who lambasted his sports-boosting exception last week, saying it conveyed the “wrong” message as the number of cases increased.
The speaker revealed on Friday that she had tested positive for COVID and asked New Yorkers to remember that the pandemic is still ongoing. “We will finally defeat this epidemic,” the speaker said in a statement, “but in the meanwhile, I urge everyone to be attentive and take the essential measures.”