Candidates reject mask rules for children in schools, as well as vaccination mandates that are being put in place in various sectors of the economy.
And they would have preferred a faster reopening in a state that was hit hard from the start by the pandemic – offering a glimpse of a governance philosophy that is seen in other parts of the country.
But they also differ on whether other states, including Florida, offer a role model for New to follow. The positions, however, put them at odds with where New York voters are, according to a public poll that found broad support for vaccine requirements and the wearing of masks amid the spread of the variant. highly contagious delta last summer.
New York now has 2,341 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 following the spike in cases in recent months, while 61.8% of all New Yorkers have completed their round of immunizations, according to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office .
Republican Rob Astorino said officials were too slow to change their strategy as the pandemic progressed.
“I think a lot of things should have been done differently as we started learning new information just a few months after the start,” said Astorino. “But basically we’re in a time warp and doing the same things we were doing back then. “
Astorino, a former Westchester County executive, highlighted his executive experience and said he would have reopened schools earlier. He also opposes requirements recommended by public health officials for children to wear masks indoors.
“You have to make decisions based on the knowledge you have and the expertise around you,” he said. “Sometimes you have to make an unpopular decision but you know it’s right. ”
Rival GOP candidate Andrew Giuliani said a role model for him was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I know Governor DeSantis is heavily criticized by some media, but I think Florida got it really right,” Giuliani said. “I think at the end of the day you have to trust your citizens rather than imposing masks on schools. “
Giuliani also reversed immunization mandates, like those of health workers.
“People should look and say, ‘Well I’m over 50, how’s my health? “And make that decision,” he said.
U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, meanwhile, says he opposes businesses like restaurants checking customers for proof of vaccination.
“They don’t want to have to apply for a vaccine passport to get their business,” Zeldin said. “They don’t refuse it. “
But Zeldin doesn’t have a state on which he would model his own COVID-19 response. Instead, he wants to find what works for New York.
“I don’t think a state has become this perfect,” he said. “No state will achieve this perfection. We should be looking at what each state does, not whether the governor is a Republican or a Democrat. “