The cavalry is coming to ensure that New Yorkers are adhering to the state’s mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York State Department of Health officials are sending “mask enforcers” to the Hudson Valley and other parts of the state to see to it that facial coverings are being worn as the number of COVID-19 cases surges.
Teams of enforcers have reportedly been spotted in and around Orange and Rockland counties, where there are COVID-19 “micro-cluster” hotspots where the virus is spreading most rapidly.
In Rockland, the overall COVID-19 positivity rate is at 6.4 percent, while it sits at 5.8 percent in Orange County, both the highest in the Hudson Valley. Statewide, the infection rate is at approximately 4.75 percent, though it was at or below 1 percent for most of the summer.
“The DOH is responsible for community outreach and enforcement of Executive Orders and regulations related to the use of face-coverings/masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” health officials said in a memo obtained by the New York Post.
Staffers were reportedly asked to volunteer for shifts in the Hudson Valley beginning Saturday, Dec. 5 through approximately New Year's Day.
“Staff is needed for immediate URGENT deployment to Orange and Rockland counties to assist with this critical public health and community enforcement effort," the memo said.
When the pandemic was first spiking in the spring, Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the first to enact an Executive Order mandating that all New Yorkers wear masks when in public.
Anyone who is caught without a mask could be ticketed and fined $50, though Cuomo said that there have only been a handful of tickets doled out since the pandemic first hit in March.
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