Hochul holds COVID briefing, media availability after cabinet meeting

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Kathy Hochul is holding a media availability where officials are providing updates on COVID and the flu in New York. She’s also holding a question and answer session with members of the press.

On the question of enforcement of New York’s mask mandate that went into effect on Monday, Hochul had much to say. “This is a crisis,” she said. “This is a health care crisis, and people are going to die. This is not hyperbole. That is based on the facts that are in front of us right now. If people had gotten vaccinated when we asked them to—and got the booster shots—I wouldn’t have had to put in place the mask mandate. But it is a mask of vaccine option. Give maximum flexibility. And I go to a gym when I can. I wear my mask. People in the gym wear a mask. We’re all happy we have the chance to even have a facility that is open. Let me restate that: the facility does not have to close. A year and a half ago, they were shut down. That hurt them economically. That is not the place I want to go ever again. I do not want to have that happen. So, I think the media can do a tremendous service to helping people save lives if they remind people that this is”—she held up her mask—”a simple act. To wear a mask when you’re working out, to wear a mask when you go to the grocery store, wear a mask when you’re in line to get the extra tinsel and the hooks for the trees you forgot, and when you’re shopping for your dinner—it is so simple. And if we can get to refocus on this as opposed to the outliers who say they’re not going to do it. What happens when they end up in a hospital and they’ve been on television saying they’re not going to enforce it? Those health care workers are going to just look at that person and say, ‘You know what? It didn’t have to be this way.’ You didn’t have to be there. So, I’m trying to inject a sense of calm, a sense of responsibility, not an overreaction, but just say: “It’s a simple matter. Let’s get through these holidays.'”

Thursday’s press conference followed a virtual cabinet meeting at the State Capitol at 9:30 a.m.

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