Mayor Eric Adams is standing firm on his mask mandate for New York’s youngest as summer fast approaches.
Now, more than two months after insisting he wants to dump the requirement that 2-to 4-year-olds mask up indoors at day care centers, public schools and other city-run programs “within a week or so” — and with the last scheduled day of classes about three weeks away — many Big Apple parents are fed up.
Pressed on the matter this week, Adams told The Post that he couldn’t disclose a specific timetable for freeing the tikes from their mask burden.
“I want to remove masks and see our babies’ faces as quickly as possible. We are prepared, not panicked, as we move into the next phase of the pandemic,” Adams said Wednesday.
“My team of health experts and I continue to evaluate the data, day after day, and we will continue to communicate with New Yorkers with additional updates.”
Danielle Pollack, a mother of a 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, expressed disappointment in the mayor, who she supported in last year’s election, for not lifting the requirement as the June 27 last day of classes approaches.
“As a New York resident, I voted for Adams because his whole platform was that he would get things back to normal,” she said. “It’s just been really frustrating, because it seems like Mayor Adams is doing nothing about it, [and] won’t even give a timeline.”
In early March, Adams announced the end of the public school mask mandates for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, who are old enough to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but maintained the controversial requirement for the city’s youngest pupils, who are not yet eligible for the shots.
Kids are not required to show proof of vaccination to enter the schools at any age.
After weeks of pressure to nix the policy, Adams announced later in the month that the face-covering rule for the youngest students and day care attendees would be removed starting April 4, barring an increase in cases.
A week later, Adams said he hoped to lift the mask mandate for kids “within a week or so” as parents staged protests outside City Hall and in Times Square, accusing the mayor of backtracking on his promise. Days later, Adams released a statement in which he said he wasn’t yet ready to pull the trigger because coronavirus cases in the city had “continued to rise.”
Then, a month later, the Adams administration nixed the mask requirement that applied to outdoor activities for toddlers, while noting young pupils still had to wear masks indoors.
“It feels like there’s no movement at all from Mayor Adams or [Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin] Vasan,” Pollack, a Bronx mother, said. “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,” she fumed. “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.”
The exasperated New York City parents are not alone.