Statement from Senator Borrello on Governor Hochul’s Imposition of New Mask Mandate

“While I understand the Governor’s concern about the rising number of COVID cases, a new mask mandate isn’t the solution. As we have seen countless times over the past two years, government overreach provokes many people to instinctively resist and creates more polarization around an issue that should simply be about public health.

“As before, this mandate will end up being a burden to businesses who will have to police mask-wearing in their establishments, creating the potentially volatile conflicts between patrons and workers that became fodder for news reports and internet videos over the past two years. 

“As a restaurant owner, I am concerned for all the front line staff who will be faced with the challenge of enforcing this mandate. Just as it is in our businesses, it is typically the newest and least experienced workers who are the first point of contact with customers. Expecting them to enforce this mandate is unrealistic and unfair.

“I believe that free and widely available testing in upstate communities would be a more effective tool for controlling the virus. I just returned from New York City where I was struck by the abundance of free, pop-up COVID testing sites, which may help explain their lower infection rates.

“While we all want to reverse the surge in cases, implementing mandates with questionable benefits simply to give the appearance of taking action isn’t the answer to this problem. I urge the Governor to rethink this strategy and work with us on actions that will make a meaningful difference against this virus.”