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New York Gov. Hochul announces requirement for kids ages 2 and above to wear masks at child care facilities

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced various mask requirements on Wednesday including that staff, visitors, and children ages 2 and older must wear face coverings at child care facilities.

"The requirement applies to New York State Office of Children and Family Services-licensed and -registered child care centers, home-based group family and family child care programs, after-school child care programs and enrolled legally exempt group programs during operational hours," according to a press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals ages 2 and above who have not been fully vaccinated utilize masks in indoor public places. Currently in the U.S. there are no vaccines authorized for use in individuals younger than 12-years-old.

"New masking requirements will also apply to congregate programs and facilities licensed, registered, operated, certified or approved by the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. This includes but is not limited to certified residential and day programs, inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, substance abuse programs, juvenile detention programs, juvenile residential facilities, congregate foster care programs, runaway and homeless youth, domestic violence and other shelter programs," the press release notes.

The mask mandates apply to individuals medically capable of using a mask, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Hochul became the Empire State's first female governor when she was sworn into office last month after Andrew Cuomo stepped down following a chorus of calls for his resignation after investigators concluded that he had sexually harassed multiple women. Cuomo said that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

"With the Delta variant on the rise, requiring masks at state-regulated child care, mental health, and substance abuse facilities is a key part of our broader strategy for slowing the spread of the virus, reopening our economy safely, and protecting vulnerable members of our population," Hochul said, according to the press release. "For children under 12 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, masks are the best line of defense against COVID-19 infection. This new mask requirement ensures that children in our child care facilities receive the same protection as children in our schools."

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