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What could come next in the legal battle over the statewide mask mandate?

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The legal battle over New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s statewide mask mandate continues to play out in court Friday as a judge prepared to decide if the governor has the authority to issue such a mandate.

A lawyer with Tully Rinckey, Martin Miranda, says everyone should be following the mask mandate, as it is still in place right now.

However, the state and the courts will soon decide if the mandate will remain in effect.

The statewide mask mandate, which was set to expire on February 1, will now extend to February 10 as the legal battle continues with some saying the governor never had the power to authorize a mandate.

When asked if the mandate was extended to make the legal fight worth it, Miranda said, “Yea, I think it’s a big question mark. The governor has indicated that she is willing to extend the mask mandate.”

Arguments for and against the mandate had to be filed by the end of the day Friday, then an Appellate Court judge will decide whether or not the governor has the power to issue mask mandates.

“As long as this stay is in order, nothing is preventing her from extending it,” said Miranda.

Miranda says we may even see the state legislature act because they have the authority to give the governor emergency powers to create mandates.

In the meantime, Onondaga County is following the state’s guidance.

“That should be resolved in short-order considering how the case has been expedited,” said Miranda. “But, in the meantime, it would be prudent to follow the state’s regulations.”

So far, no arguments or decisions have been filed in the Appellate Court.

The governor says masks are still a “critical tool” in fighting this winter COVID surge.

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