NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says the state’s mask mandate will be extended until at least Feb. 10.

Hochul announced the extension Friday for the mandate that requires face coverings in all indoor public places unless the businesses or venues require COVID-19 vaccinations.

The mandate was first announced on Dec. 10. Hochul said it has been “a critical tool” in driving COVID-19 numbers down.

Coronavirus infections spiked in New York around Christmas, thanks to the emergence of the highly infectious omicron variant.

But infections have declined in recent weeks.

Hochul said the mask mandate could be lifted after Feb. 10 if case counts keep declining.

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