SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — While visiting the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, Governor Kathy Hochul slammed Judge Thomas Rademaker of Nassau County’s ruling that she, nor the Department of Health, have the authority to mandate mask-wearing.

“We disagree 100% with the conclusion of the Judge, that in his opinion, though the Department of Health did not have the authority to protect public health. A Judge in Albany (had) the same fact pattern and came up with the opposite conclusion. So, we believe this will be settled very shortly,” Governor Hochul said.

And it was, at least for now. A stay was issued by an appellate court that will keep the mask mandate in place. A court date has been January 28, 2022, at 10 a.m.

“As Governor, my top priority is protecting the people of this state. These measures are critical tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make schools and businesses safe, and save lives. I commend the Attorney General for her defense of the health and safety of New Yorkers, and applaud the Appellate Division, Second Department for siding with common sense and granting an interim stay to keep the state’s important masking regulations in place. We will not stop fighting to protect New Yorkers, and we are confident we will continue to prevail.”

Governor Kathy Hocul

Hochul’s press conference Tuesday came just hours after students at the high school in Mexico, New York, were refused entry into the building because they were not wearing masks. Students who spoke with NewsChannel 9 said it was their individual right to not wear a mask. Those same students admitted to being unvaccinated. Students were allowed inside the main entrance’s vestibule to keep warm.

More than 30 first responders were invited to watch Gov. Hochul’s coronavirus briefing at the New York State Fair. (Andrew Donovan)

While Governor Hochul has vowed to pursue “every option to reverse (the ruling) immediately,” she understands why students and parents are tired of wearing masks. Hochul told the media she will not keep requirements in place longer than necessary, but she will not pull them a day before they can do it safely.

Citing other states’ poor record of keeping kids healthy in school, Hochul said New York’s mandate has helped children stay in school. She also announced the state’s intention of getting every child in the state a take-home COVID test before they leave for winter break.

Before the Governor would consider lifting a mask mandate in schools, she said she would look at:

  • Positivity Rates
  • Vaccination Rates
  • Overall Hospitalizations
  • Pediatric Hospitalizations

Most of those numbers are trending in the right direction for the Empire State. According to Gov. Hochul, the state has seen an 86% drop in its 7-day positivity average. She also said the number of hospitals forgoing elective surgeries is down to 32 from 47.

While Houchul has not ruled out going through the legislature, she said she disagrees with the premise that they need to take such action.

You can watch Governor Hochul’s full press conference in the video player below: