Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a series of universal mask requirements to protect New Yorkers amid the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Hochul says face coverings are now required at all state-regulated child care facilities for children ages two and up and for all staff and visitors.

The mask requirements apply regardless of vaccination status.

"With the Delta variant on the rise, requiring masks at state-regulated child care, mental health, and substance abuse facilities is a key part of our broader strategy for slowing the spread of the virus, reopening our economy safely, and protecting vulnerable members of our population," Governor Hochul said. "For children under 12 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, masks are the best line of defense against COVID-19 infection. This new mask requirement ensures that children in our child care facilities receive the same protection as children in our schools."

Hochul says implementing the mask regulation in child care programs will provide consistency between child care program children and school children, many of whom often share the same buildings.

New masking requirements will also apply to congregate programs and facilities licensed, registered, operated, certified or approved by the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The governor says the new mask requirement in child care facilities brings New York State into compliance with federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued in July.

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