BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The state's mask mandate at day cares for everybody age 2 and older is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
However, it's enough of a challenge to get children that young to keep their shoes on, let alone a mask. Day care operators have spoken out about the new challenges they now face.
"I think the situation is less than it was before," Christy Iraci, part owner and operator of Colvin Brighton Child Care, told WBEN. "We're being held to a crazy guidelines. It doesn't make sense to me."
On Wednesday, 700 more people in Western New York tested positive for COVID-19. Virtually all cases of COVID-19 in the community are from the Delta variant.
More than two-thirds of all New Yorkers have had at least one vaccine dose while 60.5% are fully vaccinated. There were more than 58,000 doses administered Wednesday.
"Because stubborn adults in our society are refusing to get a vaccine, they're making it so everyone else has to do things that are uncomfortable," State Senator Sean Ryan told WBEN when asked about the mask mandate at day cares. "If, in fact, the adults in the community can stop being selfish and went out and thought about the 2-year-olds, then we wouldn't be in this situation. As long as we're in this situation, we're going to have to do things like that because we're going to have to pick up the slack of the people who don't want to participate."
Governor Hochul justified the mask mandate by referencing national headlines of children catching COVID-19 and because younger children are not eligible to get a vaccine.
"I am very anxious to get (the vaccine) approved," Hochul said. "As soon as it is, we will be working with parents and pediatricians and schools to make sure the children are vaccinated. But we're not hearing that will occur for a number of months yet. We want to make sure that even people in our state congregate facilities...are all wearing their masks so we can protect staff and all the individuals who would enter those facilities."
Ryan acknowledged the mask mandate may be "aspirational" but said there's a need to keep kids safe because of those who are unvaccinated. He said most day care facilities already follow the many state rules and that this is just one more rule for them.
As of September 9, children represented 15.5% of all cases in the country, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Though children are less likely to suffer a serious illness or death from the
virus compared to adults, 460 children have died. Among all age groups, more than 662,000 people have died from COVID-19.