NYC judge nixes mask mandates for toddlers, Eric Adams plans to appeal

A Staten Island judge lifted mask mandates for toddlers citywide Friday — however Mayor Eric Adams vowed shortly after to hold the rule in place, citing a brand new COVID-19 variant and saying town is interesting the judgement.

The ruling by Richmond County State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio struck down town rule requiring children ages 2 to 4 put on masks — rendering it instantly unenforceable in faculties and daycares and calling it “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” in accordance to courtroom paperwork.

“It’s effective immediately,” lawyer Michael Chessa mentioned Friday after arguing for a everlasting injunction of the continued face overlaying requirement. “It strikes down the order from the department of health.”

“All throughout the city every child ages 2 to 4 everywhere doesn’t have to wear a mask,” he mentioned.

But simply hours after the judgement, Adams mentioned town will search an appeal and requested a keep to hold the controversial rule in place when children return to faculty Monday.

“I think it’s imperative that due to the rise in cases that we’re seeing, as slight as they are; our plans were to take a week to assess the numbers before removing masks to 2 to 4 year olds,” mentioned Adams.

Parents and children protest the city’s mask mandate for kids under 5 at City Hall on March 20, 2022.
Richmond County State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio blasted town’s mask mandate for toddlers for being “unreasonable.”
Kevin C. Downs

“Of course, we’re going to comply with any ruling from the judge. Our legal team is going to put in place an appeal and ask for a stay,” he mentioned. “We truly believe this is within our powers to execute what is best for the City of New York,” he added.

Adams mentioned town’s total positivity fee has climbed to 2.67 p.c over the previous week, greater than the rolling month-to-month common of two.33 p.c.

The metropolis’s medical professionals suggested Adams to hold the mask mandate in place for toddlers, partially as a result of there is no such thing as a vaccine accessible but for the age group, mentioned City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan.

In oral arguments, Chessa argued the mask mandate for tots, applied in November, was unconstitutional, and Judge Porzio agreed.

“I am just happy for myself and all the parents I have come in contact with throughout this process. It give us the choice to decide if we want our kids masked or not. Nothing about this is anti mask. Its pro parental choice,” mentioned Chessa, who his the daddy of a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old.

Pre-school teacher Talia Croguennec speaks out against the city’s mask mandate for children at a rally outside City Hall on March 20, 2022.
Pre-school instructor Talia Croguennec speaks out in opposition to town’s mask mandate for kids at a rally exterior City Hall on March 20, 2022.
Kevin C. Downs

Parents on Friday cheered the ruling, calling it about time the much-debated masking rule be scrapped.

“I’m so happy that the judge came to the same common sense solution just to have a choice, a mask choice,” mentioned Lisa Marks, the mom of a 3-year outdated woman, who she believes was hindered developmentally by the masks.

“She joined a class of kids, and she wants to be able to bond with them and develop friendships. Having something cover your face, kids can’t read emotions,” she mentioned.

Parents and children protest the city’s mask mandate for kids under 5 at City Hall on March 20, 2022.
Parents and youngsters protest town’s mask mandate for children beneath 5 at City Hall on March 20, 2022.
Kevin C. Downs

Danyela Souza Egorov, the mom of a 4-year-old, added: “We are excited to have his last months of preschool mask free,” she mentioned.

For months, dad and mom have protested the requirement, insisting that masking younger kids is unscientific and hampers their social progress. On Friday, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew mentioned he neither supported nor condemned the ruling.

“The mask mandate for the youngest children is now in the courts.  While it works its way through the legal process, we need to keep the focus on other measures that are helping to keep schools safe — encouraging vaccinations for those eligible, aggressive testing, and following cleaning and ventilation protocols,” Mulgrew mentioned.

Following weeks of strain to ditch the rule, Mayor Eric Adams mentioned final week the mandate for the Big Apple’s youngest can be eliminated beginning Monday if extreme COVID-19 case counts stay low.

On Friday, he inspired New Yorkers to as soon as once more put on masks in the event that they’re in a shared public setting the place the vaccination standing of others is unknown — however stopped in need of implementing a mandate.

Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams insisted on conserving the mask mandate for youthful kids in mild of coronavirus circumstances rising.
Paul Martinka

“If you don’t know the vaccination status of people in a room, wear your mask,” mentioned Adams. “We’re seeing a slight uptick and we want you to be prepared, not panic. That’s the theme that we’re doing here.”

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