NYC parents fume over mayor’s ‘absurd’ toddler mask mandate: ‘Science doesn’t support it’

New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams has decided to keep the mask mandate for the city’s youngest—and that decision isn’t sitting well with many parents.

And this is only a few months after he ostentatiously insisted that he would trash the requirement—”within a week or so”—for toddlers to have to wear masks indoors at daycare centers and public schools. That’s another promise the mayor has refused to keep, and parents in New York City are starting to get angry.

When asked about the issue by the New York Post, Adams was cagey about outlining a timeline for when he would allow children to breathe freely again.

“I want to remove masks and see our babies’ faces as quickly as possible,” he said on Wednesday. “We are prepared, not panicked, as we move into the next phase of the pandemic.” There’s always a “next phase” of the pandemic.

“My team of health experts and I continue to evaluate the data, day after day,” he added, “and we will continue to communicate with New Yorkers with additional updates.” In other words, don’t hold your breath for anything to change anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s decisions are causing him to lose support from some of his most ardent backers.

“As a New York resident, I voted for Adams because his whole platform was that he would get things back to normal,” Danielle Pollack, mother to a 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, told the Post. She explained that she had supported him in last year’s mayoral election.

“It’s just been really frustrating because it seems like Mayor Adams is doing nothing about it, [and] won’t even give a timeline.”

Adams has waffled on the whole issue with characteristic consistency. In March, he lifted the mask mandates for K-12 students but kept the requirement for toddlers, who are ineligible for vaccinations. Then, following a pressure campaign, he announced later in the month that the mandate for tikes would be ditched on April 4. But after a spike in New York City of the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant of COVID-19, Adams reinstated the policy.

That’s when he issued his “within a week or so” promise to lift the mandate.

“It feels like there’s no movement at all from Mayor Adams or [Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin] Vasan,” Pollack seethed. “There’s been no update about what there will be in the summer, and as a parent it’s very frustrating, and it makes me question whether New York City is the right place to raise my family.

“My daughter’s been in a mask the entire time she’s been in school. My son is going to be starting in the same school in the fall, and I never would’ve thought it would be a question of if he has to wear a mask.”

Brian Robinson, a Democratic hopeful who is running to represent the 10th Congressional District in New York, has expressed his own displeasure with the mandate.

“If Adams would back off of that, then obviously business wouldn’t feel the pressure to hold that line,” Robinson, the father of a 4-year-old girl told the Post, adding that the mandate is “absurdity in its most pure form.”

“At this point, the science doesn’t support it,” he said. “It’s excessive.”


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Todd Jaquith


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