A judge in New York ruled that the state's mask mandate will temporarily remain in place as a legal battle over the matter is ongoing in state court.
Appellate Judge Robert Miller issued a stay on Tuesday to retain the mask mandate pending ongoing court procedures for the case, court documents showed.
His decision followed Assistant Attorney General Judith Vale's argument against removing the mask mandate, asserting that the Department of Health had "ample statutory authority" to issue the order.
The attorney general's appeal came after a decision from Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Rademaker that determined Gov. Kathy Hochul (D)'s indoor mask mandate was "unconstitutional."
"The court cannot find any law enacted by the State Legislature that specifically gives the Department of Health and its Commissioner the authority to enact a law," Rademaker said in his ruling.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) issued a statement on Tuesday supporting the stay.
"Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that wearing a mask saves lives," James said. "This mandate and today's decision are critical in helping to stop the spread of this virus and protect individuals young and old."
Hochul, who had previously criticized Rademaker's decision and vowed to fight it, also voiced approval of the decision.
"I commend the Attorney General for her defense of the health and safety of New Yorkers, and applaud the Appellate Division, Second Department for siding with common sense and granting an interim stay to keep the state's important masking regulations in place," Hochul said in a statement.
"We will not stop fighting to protect New Yorkers, and we are confident we will continue to prevail," the governor added.
Another hearing about the stay is expected to take place on Jan. 28.