NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul extended the state’s mask mandate for businesses through February 10. That’s nine days after it was initially set to expire, January 31.

The governor said the mandate has been “critical tool” in fighting a recent surge of the virus caused by the omicron variant. The policy will be reviewed every two weeks and extended on a two-week basis instead of monthly.

“We didn’t know at the time when we put in our mask or vaccine requirement … what January or February could look like,” Hochul explained before announcing the expansion. “If we can continue on this rapid trend downward, we’ll be in a good place … I need that flexibility.”

Positivity rates in the state are on the decline, currently resting at 6.15%. Hospitalizations are also dropping from a high of 12,000 patients—still, Hochul told residents to continue taking the virus seriously “until we’re out of this storm.”