2.9.22 COVID-19 Bulletin: Hochul Ends Mask Mandate; Poloncarz Will Follow Suit
February 9, 2022
Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she will NOT be renewing the state’s mask mandate, so the mandate will expire tomorrow.
The Governor’s announcement failed to proactively address how the removal of the mask mandate coincides with the NY HERO Act. On September 6th, Hochul triggered the HERO Act and has not yet deactivated it. The HERO Act required employees in many settings to wear masks, even before the statewide mask mandate was imposed.
The BNP has reached out to the Governor’s office for clarification on this question and will communicate any updates with you. Use the Department of Labor’s site, the BNP’s employer checklist, and the BNP’s HERO Act webinars for a refresher on what the HERO Act entails.
Hochul also noted that mask mandates remain in place in healthcare facilities, adult care and nursing homes, schools, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and public transit.
Hochul imposed the mandate in December after the Omicron variant sent cases skyrocketing. However, with declining case numbers, Hochul felt comfortable removing the mandate.
In Erie County, which imposed its own mask mandate before the state did, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced on Twitter that the County will follow the state’s lead and repeal its mandate, effective tomorrow.
If your organization is short on COVID resources, the BNP is here to help. On February 16, the BNP is assisting Erie County with distributing a new supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Erie County businesses, free of charge. [past event - registration closed]
The BNP will keep you informed with any updates on COVID policy.
Update (2/10): The BNP got clarity from the Governor’s office on how this announcement coincides with the NY HERO Act. Learn more on our blog here.
In preparation for the 2023 elections, the BNP hosted an Erie County Executive Candidate Forum. Both candidates for Erie County’s highest office – incumbent Mark Poloncarz and challenger Chrissy Casilio – were given 45 minutes to address BNP members in a guided discussion.
After years of relentless advocacy to bolster Upstate NY’s innovation and manufacturing industries, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region have joined forces with a proposal to become a federally-designated Tech Hub in the first-of-its-kind nationwide competition created in his CHIPS & Science Bill.
The BNP organized a Capital Conversations event as part of our Government Affairs series to examine the workings of the H-1B program and explore potential reforms that could strengthen our regional economy.