Incoming New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’s not ruling out a statewide vaccine mandate

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation at the New York State Capitol, in Albany, New York, U.S., August 11, 2021.
Incoming New York Governor Kathy Hochul
  • Kathy Hochul, NY's incoming governor, said she's not yet ruling out the possibility of mandating a statewide vaccine for indoor activities.
  • "I'm open to all options," she told CNN Sunday. "I'll be looking at the possibility of mandates."
  • She also said she supports mandating the wearing of face masks for children in school.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Kathy Hochul, New York's incoming governor, on Sunday said she's not ruling out the possibility of mandating a statewide vaccine for indoor activities amid a surge in COVID-19 cases brought about by the Delta variant.

"I'm open to all options," she told CNN's State of the Union. "I'll be looking at the possibility of mandates, but not saying they're in or out until I know all the facts."

Hochul, 62, who takes over the position of Gov. Andrew Cuomo by the end of August following his resignation, said she's assembling a team of experts to help her layout all scenarios and is planning to discuss the situation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well.

"I want to bring the best and the brightest to deal with this," she told CNN, explaining how she plans to strategize her policy to curb the spread of the virus.

She did clarify that she supports mandating the wearing of face masks for children in school ahead of the fall class opening.

"This is something that I believe has to occur to make sure that our teachers are safe, the administrators are safe," she told CNN. "I'm a mom. I know how this feels. I will get this right."

As for mandating vaccines for teachers, she said she does not have the executive power to do that.

"I'm willing to speak to our legislative leaders and to take whatever action I need to protect people," Hochul told CNN.

The sitting lieutenant governor highlighted how the situation continues to change, which is why she wants to avoid making "hard and fast rules" only to reverse them the following month. She did reiterate how her main goal is to get more people vaccinated.

Currently, around 75% of New Yorkers above 18 years old have received at least one dose.

Hochul also expressed openness to speak with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I want to roll up my sleeves and sit down with the mayor of New York - the current and the incoming mayors -and say, let's solve the scale," she told CNN. "How about doing it together and not in competition."

Cuomo and de Blasio have had an ongoing feud ever since the mayor took office in 2014.

As for Cuomo's sexual harassment scandal and suspended impeachment investigation, Hochul said she will not allow herself to be distracted.

"I'll be laser-focused on dealing with COVID, getting our economy back, getting kids back in schools, and dealing with a whole host of other challenges that I'm prepared for," she said.

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