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.

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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.