The authorities of New York are increasing efforts and resources to contain covid-19 at a time when its omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the state, and they are dedicating 65 million dollars to different neighborhoods and counties to enforce the mandatory nature of the mask, in force in closed spaces since December 13.
“We are going to fight, we are not going to surrender to the pandemic”, assured the governor Kathy Hochul to New Yorkers at a press conference in which she indicated that positive cases continue to rise, and insisted on the use of the mask and vaccines.
Among the new cases is the head of the state Department of Health, Mary T. Bassett, who after undergoing the daily test of covid-19 tested positive, so she could not accompany Hochul and other members of her cabinet to the press conference.
The distribution of 65 million comes after representatives of the counties indicated that they do not have the funds to enforce the governor’s order, which will be in force until January 15 and will entail civil and criminal penalties, with a maximum fine of 1,000 dollars for each violation, for which health agents will have to be deployed, said Hochul.
The measure covers covered entertainment venues, concert halls, covered sports stadiums, recreational spaces, restaurants, office buildings, shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, places of worship and common areas in residential buildings.
Other initiatives the state will launch during the winter season include opening seven virus test sites next week and distributing 10 million home tests, half before the new year and the rest in January.
For her part, the director of state Operations and former mayoral candidate for the city, Kathryn García, said they would ask the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act so that manufacturers can produce more tests of the virus over the counter.
Meanwhile, today the order came into force so that teachers and private school workers have at least one dose of the vaccine. Those in the public sector already fulfill this mandate.
Schools will have to deliver by December 28 at the latest proof that all their staff are complying with the order, which is estimated to impact some 56,000 people, full and part time.
Those schools with teachers and other staff who have not completed the second dose will have until February 17 to deliver proof of vaccination to the city.