A Staten Island judge on Friday lifted mask mandates for young children citywide — but Mayor Eric Adams shortly thereafter vowed to keep the rule, citing a new COVID-19 variant and saying the city is appealing the ruling a.
The ruling by Richmond County Superior Court Judge Ralph Porzio overturned the city rule that required children ages 2 to 4 to wear masks — rendering them immediately unenforceable in schools and daycares and labeling them “arbitrary,” according to court documents , moody and unreasonable”.
“It’s effective immediately,” attorney Michael Chessa said Friday after opting for a permanent restraining order on the ongoing face covering requirement. “It knocks down the order from the Department of Health.”
“Across the city, every child between the ages of 2 and 4 is not required to wear a mask,” he said.
But just hours after the ruling, Adams said the city would appeal and seek a stay to uphold the controversial rule when the teens return to school on Monday.
“I think it’s imperative that because of the increase in cases we’re seeing, however small they are; Our plans were to take a week to assess the numbers before we remove masks for 2- to 4-year-olds,” Adams said.
“Of course we will follow any judgment of the judge. Our legal team will appeal and ask for a stay,” he said. “We truly believe that this is within our power to do what is best for the City of New York,” he added.
At hearings, Chessa argued that the infant mask mandate, introduced in November, was unconstitutional, and Judge Porzio agreed.
“I’m just happy for myself and for all the parents I’ve come into contact with during this process. It gives us the choice to decide whether or not to mask our children. Nothing about it is anti-mask. It’s a parental decision,” said Chessa, who is a father to a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old.
Parents cheered the verdict on Friday, calling it time to abolish the much-discussed masking rule.
“I’m so happy that the judge came to the same reasonable solution, just to have an election, a mask election,” said Lisa Marks, the mother of a 3-year-old girl who she believes has been helped by the masks in her development has been hampered.
“She’s joined a class of kids and she wants to be able to connect with them and develop friendships. If your face is covered with something, kids can’t read emotions,” she said.
Danyela Souza Egorov, the mother of a 4-year-old, added: “We are delighted that his final months of pre-school mask are free,” she said.
After weeks of pressure to scrap the rule, Mayor Eric Adams said last week that the mandate for the Big Apple’s youngest would be lifted starting Monday if the number of severe COVID-19 cases stays low.
On Friday, he encouraged New Yorkers to wear masks again when in a shared public setting where others’ vaccination status is unknown – but stopped short of implementing a mandate.
“If you don’t know the vaccination status of people in a room, wear your mask,” Adams said. “We’re seeing a slight increase and we want you to be prepared, don’t panic. That’s the theme we’re doing here.”
For months, parents have protested the rule, insisting that masking young children is unscientific and stunts their social growth.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/01/nyc-judge-nixes-mask-mandates-for-toddlers-eric-adams-plans-appeal/ NYC judge lifts face mask requirements for infants, Eric Adams plans to appeal