Ortt, Senate Republicans call for end to mandates in Covid response

Posted 19 January 2022 at 2:45 pm

Press Release, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – The New York State Senate Republican Conference today called upon Governor Kathy Hochul and Democrat One-Party Rule to end one-size-fits-all Albany mandates and return to a system of governance based on facts, collaborative decision making, and guidance.

“Nearly two years ago, New York became the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ortt said. “Our state was shut down, our schools were closed, and our economy was decimated. Nearly 700 days later, the results speak for themselves. One-size-fits-all Albany mandates didn’t work under Governor Cuomo, they don’t work under Governor Hochul, and New Yorkers are fed up. It’s past time to return to a system of governance based on facts and collaboration – not politics and dictation.”

Specifically, Senate Republicans are calling for an end to statewide school mandates and healthcare/workforce mandates, among other mandates – and to instead shift to recommendations and guidance. Additionally, local control over public health response(s) would be restored, as decisions on mandates would be left to acts of local governing bodies, under one Senate Republican proposal.

Challenges presented by some of the statewide mandates include:

  • Massive healthcare staffing shortages, based on the original vaccination mandate and upcoming booster mandate – impacting regions of the state differently;
  • Cancellation of “elective” surgeries based on state definition of capacity;
  • Numerous school and childcare closures, which have resulted in even more learning loss and mental health decline among schoolchildren;
  • Children 12 years and older kept out of extracurricular activities if not boosted when there is a Covid exposure, yet still able to attend school and travel on the bus;
  • To qualify for the oral antiviral medications priority eligibility is given based on race and ethnicity; and
  • A potential vaccine mandate for school children.

Today’s announcement follows Senate Republicans’ unveiling of their “Take Back New York” 2022 Agenda, and is the first part in a multi-pronged plan to restore accountability to the state government in the aftermath of disgraced ex-Governor Cuomo’s rampant abuses of power.

Last year, Senate Republicans led the charge to end disgraced ex-Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers – a months-long effort designed to compel the Senate Democrat Majority to check his authority in the wake of the nursing home scandal and coverup, and curb Cuomo’s many other abuses of power throughout Covid-19 pandemic.