On her 1st day, N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul announces plan to mandate masks and vaccinations in schools

After being sworn-in as New York's first female governor, Kathy Hochul gave her first address from Albany. She laid out an agenda that primarily focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Hochul, former lieutenant governor of the state, replaced Andrew Cuomo after a report revealed that he had sexually harassed 11 women. Hochul said Tuesday that she is ready to take proactive measures to stop the rapid spreading Delta variant COVID-19.

Hochul stated that I have also directed the Department of Health immediately to implement universal masking for all students entering our schools.

All school staff will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, she stated. Individuals who don't wish to be vaccinated will be able to opt for weekly testing. The state will also make the tests available more widely in the coming weeks.

New York Governor After Tuesday's ceremonial swearing in at Albany's state Capitol, Kathy Hochul talks to reporters. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Hochul cited Monday's Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer vaccine, and said that New Yorkers can expect to have new vaccine requirements.

Hochul stated that New York is preparing for the distribution and distribution of booster shots. Hochul also said that Dr. Anthony Fauci had been consulted to ensure that they would be readily available and distributed promptly and reliably.

Cuomo was not mentioned by the new governor in her speech. However, she stated that she would keep her promise to remove the toxic environment from her office that former staff members claimed characterized her predecessor's administration.

Janet DiFiore, New York Chief Judge swears in Kathy Hochul, while Bill Hochul holds a Bible. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Hochul stated that this begins with a radical change in culture. Individuals who do not follow the rules will be held accountable.

She also announced she would overhaul the state's policies regarding sexual harassment and ethics, and that all New York State employees will be required to attend live ethics training classes.

Hochul stated that her final priority was to ensure New Yorkers received financial assistance in dealing the coronavirus pandemic. This included relief for landlords and renters, as well as aid for undocumented immigrants who were set aside under the Excluded Workers Fund.

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Hochul will be working to fill out her Cabinet in the coming days. Two women were appointed to high-ranking government positions by Hochul on Monday. Karen Persichilli Keogh, the most senior appointed position in the state government, will be secretary to the governor. Elizabeth Fine will act as counsel to her. Hochul's position as lieutenant governor was left unfilled. The new lieutenant governor is still to be decided and will be announced next week.


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