New Paltz officials offer joint statement about wearing masks in New Paltz

The New Paltz COVID-19 Emergency Group has issued a statement to the public about the need for mask wearing in New Paltz.

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise in New Paltz and the region attributable to the highly contagious Delta variant. The vaccination rate in our community is good among those eligible. This is generally positive news, except that our children under the age of 12 cannot receive the protection a vaccine affords. We have hundreds of local kids who are not protected from a variant of the virus that is of an order of magnitude more contagious than the initial virus. This is disturbing on many levels. It was previously thought that kids were less susceptible, but that thought no longer holds true. In fact, children can suffer a range of symptoms, from mild to requiring hospitalization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported that 26% of new COVID-19 cases nationally were in children.

Perhaps it bears repeating that in children too, COVID-19 symptoms such as heart and pulmonary issues, brain fog and loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months. It’s a terribly frightening thing for a child to experience and parents, guardians and caregivers to live with, while hoping for full recovery.

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In New Paltz, there have been requests made to community representatives to enact a mandate requiring masks to be worn in any indoor public place. Business owners cite issues with non-mask wearing persons in their spaces despite asking for them to be worn. Residents don’t feel safe in some settings even though they are vaccinated. Tensions mount, arguments ensue. Due to the rise in infections, Village and Town Boards recently directed mandatory mask wearing in municipal buildings; the Village has tabled in-person meetings; and the Town is shifting to do the same. SUNY New Paltz has an indoor mask mandate for all employees, students and visitors. New Paltz municipal, campus and school district officials are taking the necessary steps within their powers to help curtail the virus spread.

This is where you come in. It’s a simple, heartfelt request. Please wear your mask when inside a public space. We need to keep our kids safe and in school. They need to learn and not be interrupted by a suspension of in-person classes as well as the many social benefits of personal interaction. But more importantly, we need to protect these children from this insidious disease so they, and others, can have healthy and full lives. We need to keep our community safe.

So mask up, cover your nose, mouth and chin. Be a good citizen — a kind and considerate community member — and protect our littlest ones and our neighbors. Let’s work together to keep New Paltz healthy and show that New Paltz cares. You can do this. We can do this together and we thank everyone for joining together with us on this critical public health issue.”

New Paltz Village Board
New Paltz Town Board
State University of New York at New Paltz
New Paltz Central School District
New Paltz Police Department
New Paltz Fire Department
New Paltz Rescue Squad
Woodland Pond