Neighbors differ on mandate

Dutchess County has joined a growing list of New York counties defying governor Kathy Hochul’s statewide mandate requiring mask use at indoor businesses, offices and public spaces. Hochul has said violators would face a fine with a maximum $1000 penalty.

Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro called the state mandate impractical and unenforceable. Molinaro has encouraged residents to wear a mask in public places regardless of vaccination status, in order to discourage spread of the Covid 19 virus.

Local health departments have been tasked with enforcement of the mask requirement.


In Ulster County, county executive Pat Ryan has taken a different path, last week declaring a state of emergency due to the rising number of local Covid cases. County health commissioner Dr. Carol Smith has issued a health advisory strongly recommending all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces and urging employers to require employees to wear masks indoors.

In both counties, the active-case counts are at their highest levels since April 2021.