Hudson Valley residents are told they should start wearing masks again.

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On Sunday, Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith issued a public health advisory strongly recommending that all residents wear masks in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Additionally, it calls on employers in Ulster County to require employees to wear masks when indoors. In August, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan signed an Executive Order requiring all County employees and members of the public to wear masks inside County facilities.

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“All individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, should wear a mask at all times when indoors and in a public setting, including at groceries, building lobbies, offices, stores, and other common or shared spaces where individuals may interact,” Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said. “All employers in Ulster County should require their employees to wear a mask while working indoors, and while in close contact with the public or co-workers.”

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The advisory states:

The advisory comes a week after County Executive Pat Ryan declared a State of Emergency due to rising positivity and hospitalization rates in Ulster County, days after New York State announced its first case of the Omicron variant, and as Ulster County’s active case count jumps to its highest level since April 2021.

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“As the science has consistently shown, masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Given the increased risk to all Ulster County residents, I support our Health Commissioner in strongly recommending that all members of the public wear masks indoors to slow COVID transmission. And I am once again asking all residents who have not yet been vaccinated or received their booster to do so immediately.”

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