Masks required again in all county buildings as Delta-variant related COVID-19 cases spike

County Executive Pat Ryan during his live Facebook update.

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan signed an executive order Tuesday requiring county employees and members of the public to wear masks in public buildings regardless of vaccination status as the number of Delta-variant-related COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the county.

The order takes effect immediately and applies to all county-owned buildings and facilities. Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith also announced due to the current CDC recommendations and a rise in positive cases due to the Delta variant that officials are strongly recommending members of the public to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, Ulster County reported 576 active cases of COVID-19, Ryan said.

“As we continue to see COVID surge across Ulster County, we must bolster our safety protocols to ensure public health,” Ryan said in a prepared statement.  “For the safety of our residents and our staff, we are now requiring that everyone wear masks inside all County buildings.  “As the science has consistently shown, masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.”
Ryan urged all members of the public to return to wearing masks indoors to slow COVID-19 transmission and those who have not yet been vaccinated to get their shots immediately.
Last week, the County Executive announced Ulster County will reactivate a vaccination site in the former Best Buy store at the Hudson Valley Mall in the Town of Ulster in September and is partnering with SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster to administer vaccines to unvaccinated students.
All SUNY students looking to participate in in-person classes are required to be vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, August 31, 78.9 percent of Ulster County residents over 18 years old have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Ryan said. He cautioned that officials are not anticipating a vaccine to be approved for children under 12 until late fall or early winter.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations visit


There are 7 comments

  1. Intel

    The BOCES has also stepped up and essentially implemented a staff vaccination mandate requiring all unvaccinated staff to be tested weekly. As Dr. Wen correctly pointed out a tested negative employee on Monday could pick it up and be transmitting it by Thursday. I would expect that those holdouts requiring testing will be facing biweekly testing soon. It would be better suited to contract tracing efforts anyway.

  2. Jaymes Nohns

    It is just simply amazing, how a virus has adapted and become so intelligent, that most people are Neanderthals in comparison…..simply amazing…the seasonal flu cant get past a mask, but this virus is completely invincible……unless you are in a restauraunt sitting down, then it loses its intelligence, and cant find you. Get up to use the restroom and Boom! Its got you! Makes complete sense…..

  3. Bill H

    I applaud the new precautions for entering county buildings. These are the people’s buildings and the overwhelming majority of people in Ulster County have been vaccinated. I believe that, by extension, we support measures that require it of all others who are medically able to get the vaccine (I, for one, don’t buy any of the religious arguments) if you want to interact with the public on government (the people’s) properties. We should have little to do with the unvaccinated ending up unnecessarily occupying ICU beds. If some folks don’t want to take precautions to protect themselves and others, we should make it hard for them to be so selfish. There are at least two reasons to get vaccinated. One is to protect yourself and the other is to protect the community, which includes those who are truly unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

    I agree with Intel that the unvaccinated should be required to be tested more frequently than once per week. I also agree with Nohns who points out a double-standard with mask wearing in restaurants. Not having to wear it at tables was a concession so that restaurants can remain open for business. However, unless extreme precautions are taken, such as limiting capacity, greater distance between tables, installation of ventilation systems, etc., then taking off your mask a a table is risky business. The problem, Nohns, is that in Florida, where you reside, it’s all futile since nowhere near enough restaurants or patrons are taking extreme precautions to limit spread. I was in Jacksonville last week – a city overwhelmed with covid – and you would think people were TRYING to get it. It was nuts. So I can see why you might point out the no-mask-while-seated double standard. Dining in any restaurant is a risk, but when people are behaving like it doesn’t exist then it all seems like a joke. Bu that might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  4. Valeriano Wyler

    I think we should take it even further, with bright fluorescent day-glo pink gloved and booted, full body space suits, with full face masked helmets, and enclosed private air, with full viral catching filters, on the exhausted air. Then paint a big bright fluorescent day-glo red capital ”U”, too stand for unvaccinated, on the front and back of the torso, as big as you can make them. And/Or, force them too stay home, with the same big bright capital ”U” on the doorways, and window’s. Then again, we could just send them all too a reconcentraciòn camp for the unvaccinated. We could use the whole States of Texas or Florida, and ”Build that Wall!”, only across the northernmost borders of these two states, and make them unvaccinated holding facilities, with those two governors, as wardens, you get it, the inmates running the asylums. Instead of Snake Plischkin escaping from a NY City penitentiary, it will be the States of Florida and Texas, if a Presideñt needed extraction. I can hear it now: ”Lock them up, lock them up, build that wall, and lock them up!” Can be the new campaign chant over, and over. It is time to show this ignorant bunch what having your rights taken away, really look’s like, and just how little of these rights, that they thought that, they had, they really only had on a sort of lease, with caveats, conditions, and contingencies. Don’t think so? Just ask, any reservation living Indian Nation, or Japanese American Citizens who were in the US, specifically the West Coast, in 1945. Ask them about Executive Order 9066, and Constitutional Rights in America. All that said, and done; The Scarlet U must be worn at all times under penalty of an even bigger, brighter, and more capital U, maybe this time in alternate Gothic, tremolo-tremelo, or open sans fontage, or with highlights, or something. Build that wall! Lock them up! Lock them up! Build that wall and lock them up!

    1. Bill H

      First, I love the Snake Plitchkin reference. I hear you about the reluctance to give up personal liberties, but we must temper that desire to be totally free with responsibility to our community. Sometimes when we selfishly refuse that responsibility, we are made to do something. It does not mean the end of the world. We cannot enjoy the comforts, protections, and convenience of society and also insist on being totally free to do whatever we like. Nowhere, anywhere, does it say that individual U.S. citizens should be able to do whatever they want regardless of the impact. In fact, our country is built on a balance between individual rights and the well-being of the common. Sometimes the common takes precedent. Not every requirement for living in this country represents totalitarianism. The romantic notion that we are, or should be, totally free to do whatever we want is not a tenet of any society worth living in.

  5. SpiroWho

    It took “Click It or Ticket” to get people to wear seatbelts.

    I wonder if “Mask It or Casket” would help?

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