New York State officials announced a major change to its mask-wearing requirement for the youngest residents.

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Many New York parents were angered last week when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new protocol that would require children ages 2 to 5 to wear masks in child care programs and summer camps, despite not having to wear masks during the peak of the pandemic.

“The new mask mandates for young kids two years old and up at summer camp or in child care programs is completely unacceptable," Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt (R,C,I,LBT,SAM-New Windsor) stated last week. "These young children never had to wear masks during the pandemic and after the CDC lifted mask guidelines for adults now we are going to add one for young children playing in the summertime heat. This makes zero sense. The Governor must immediately issue updated guidance.”

On Monday, the rule was reversed. Now, kids between the ages of 2 and 5 won't have to wear a mask at daycares or summer camps. Officials do suggest they wear a mask to protect themselves from being exposed to COVID-19.

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“In a major win for New York families, the Cuomo mandate to mask our young kids at daycare and summer camps has been reversed. I am proud to have worked together with concerned community members, parents, families, and colleagues in our successful effort to get this ill-advised young kids mask mandate reversed. Working together we achieve real results," Schmitt said in a statement on Monday.

Parents and county leaders criticized the initial policy and are happy with the reversal.

“Like too many decisions coming from the executive’s offices, forcing young children to wear masks never made any scientific sense," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said Monday. "Dutchess was among the first local governments to call on New York State to correct this inconsistency and made clear we would not enforce it. I am heartened to see the State has listened to reason. We trust this will extend to all children in these safe settings."

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