On Friday, Dec. 10, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a statewide mask mandate where masks are required to be worn in indoor public spaces unless the business or venue implements a vaccine requirement.

The mandate became effective Monday, Dec. 13 and remains in effect until Jan. 15, 2022. At that time, the state will reevaluate whether a renewal of the mandate is necessary based on current conditions.

According to a New York state press release about the mandate, since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate increased by 43% and hospitalizations by 29%.

“We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet,” Ms. Hochul said. 

Following the governor’s announcement, Lewisboro Town Supervisor Peter Parsons sent an email to residents and businesses explaining the new state mandate. The communication stated that masks are required in all town office buildings, as well as indoor programs and events.

Mr. Parsons last announced a mask mandate in Lewisboro on Aug. 19 after a steep increase in COVID-19 cases, which at the time of the order were at 36. As of Tuesday, Dec. 14, just after the state mandate went into effect in town, Lewisboro had 73 active cases of COVID-19, far surpassing peak case numbers over the summer.

Mr. Parsons urged all residents to practice COVID safety practices. He stressed vaccinations remain the best way to protect yourself, along with wearing a mask, and that everyone eligible should get a booster shot.

The communication also clarified what the mandate means for businesses. It noted that all businesses must either require masks or proof of vaccination; either policy adopted applies to employees and management. Businesses must adhere to one or the other approach.

“It is your choice to decide which suits your business best,” the email said. “Having all masks is the easiest choice and affords more entry and less burden on the businesses. That is up to you and perhaps consider having extra masks on hand for your patrons, (which) could be helpful.”

Eat-in establishments must require employees to wear masks at all times and patrons must remain masked until seated, the email stated. Masks are required for patrons when they get up from tables to move around the restaurant.

“Please keep in mind that our local businesses must comply to these requirements as set forth by the state,” Mr. Parsons said in his email. “Non-compliance of the state mandate could subject the business up to a $1,000 fine.”

The Lewisboro Library also announced this week that all patrons and staff are now required to wear masks while inside the library.

The town directed anyone with questions about the state mask mandate or in need of assistance to contact Lewisboro Emergency Management at 914-977-8043 or lewisborooem@gmail.com.

Jessica Leibman is a staff reporter at The Record-Review where she covers the Town of Lewisboro the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

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