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 VaccinateUlster.com.