There’s a new Sheriff in town, and his first order of business is to get rid of Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate. Bruce Blakeman who was sworn in as Nassau County’s Executive on January 1st wasted no time in his first week by signing a number of executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, including several related to the wearing of face masks.
According to the executive order, School boards will be able to decide whether their students will wear masks, and county workers will have the option of whether or not to wear a mask inside.
“It’s a very simple message. The message is: the wearing of masks is optional,” Blakeman said.
“Our county is larger than nine states and we don’t need people in Albany telling us what we should be doing here in Nassau County,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman, also made it official that the Nassau County Department of Health will not enforce the state’s indoor public space mask mandate or vaccine check.
Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner Larry Eisenstein said he agrees with Blakeman’s executive order pertaining to schools.
“We’ve been saying all along that school districts have to do what’s best for them,” he said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, however, hit back against Blakeman’s Executive order threatening him that she would withhold state funding from public schools in Nassau County if her mandate orders were not complied with.
“People who have more experience in county government would know that state government, state laws prevail. The state Education Department has direct control over the funding of schools,” Hochul said.
The United Teachers Union also pushed back. Democratic leaders called the mask directive dangerous.
Eisenstein said Nassau County has a nearly 100% vaccination rate, and that two-thirds of the people in the county who are hospitalized as of Thursday are unvaccinated.