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McMahon happy to see mask mandate dropped, wants NYS to do better on mitigation efforts

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After nearly two months, Gov. Kathy Hochul has lifted New York’s mask mandate for indoor public places, due to COVID-19 rates plunging across the state. Masks will still be required in some venues, like medical facilities, nursing homes and on public transportation.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Wednesday the seemingly random decisions about mask mandates shows one area government has fallen short in the pandemic.

“If you have defined metrics for what on-ramps looks like and off-ramps , then everybody gets it. This is what we’re facing now, and things are not going well if we need to look at mitigation,” McMahon said. “But if things come back to this point, mitigation goes away. This hasn’t been done well during this pandemic. And as omicron starts to fizzle out, we have a chance to reset moving forward.”

McMahon said he'd like to see the state take more of an effort on what mitigation efforts to take if cases rise again.

“Each time you go through a wave you’ve got to reflect on what we learned, and what changed and what you could do better and what you do differently,” he said. “And hopefully government leaders across the country will put mitigation based on data for on-ramps and off-ramps when it comes to implementing mandates. Because if you don’t, you’re going to frankly see a tired public that just won’t listen.”

The mask mandate for schools will remain in place for now. Hochul said Wednesday that only about 35% of kids ages 5-to-11 have been vaccinated and she'd like to see that number rise before dropping the mask mandate in schools. Another review will be done after kids return from their midwinter break at the end of the month.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.