The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has repealed the mask mandate for unvaccinated people three weeks after a federal lawsuit challenging the regulation’s constitutionality was filed.
The department’s commissioner Howard Zucker last Friday, Aug. 27, revoked a regulation, namely NYCRR 66-3, which required the non-vaxxed people to wear masks while the vaccinated people could go mask-free, Lifesite News reported.
Instead, he issued blanket mask mandates for school children and employees in certain sectors, such as healthcare and correctional facilities.
The commissioner stopped issuing mask mandates related to vaccine status after William Ouweleen, vintner for the oldest dedicated sacramental winery in America, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Aug. 5 challenging the regulation.
Ouweleen started the lawsuit after patrons of the winery twice cited him for not wearing a mask and was informed by the local health department he could be fined or closed down, or both, if additional complaints were received.
Ouweleen argued in the complaint that the NYSDOH’s regulation violated his constitutional rights and was not justified by science, citing confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccination does not prevent transmission of COVID-19.
“The science does not establish that prolonged use of masks is safe or effective. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines masks as experimental medical devices, and has not licensed them for use by the general public other than through Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA),” Ouweleen wrote.
Under the terms of the EUA, manufacturers are expressly forbidden from “misleading” the public by alleging that masks can be reused or used to stop or reduce infection.
Attorney Sujata Gibson filed the complaint on behalf of Ouweleen, which also got support from Children’s Health Defense (CHD).
CHD Chairman and Chief Legal Counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said that there is simply no reason to issue different requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated New Yorkers.
“Public health officials around the world acknowledge that these vaccines are for personal protection only. This mandate wasn’t evidence-based. It was meant to coerce people into taking experimental vaccines and to shame and bully those that exercise their federally guaranteed right to opt-out,” the counsel said.