Hochul Weighs Face Mask Ban on Subways Amid Antisemitic Incidents

Subway Train in New York City

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is considering a ban on face masks for subway riders, citing reports of antisemitic incidents carried out by masked individuals.

On Thursday, Hochul revealed she is discussing a potential bill with lawmakers. However, she recognized the complexities involved, given many wear masks for health, religious, or cultural reasons. The governor’s motivation stems from a reported incident on Monday night, where “a group donning masks took over a subway car, scaring riders and chanting things about Hitler and wiping out Jews”. The specific event Hochul referenced remains unclear.

“We will not tolerate individuals using masks to evade [responsibility] for criminal or threatening behavior,” Hochul stated during the press conference. “My team is working on a solution, but on a subway, people should not be able to hide behind a mask to commit crimes.”

“There’s obviously a problem here,” she added. “This will be dealt with.”

Hochul indicated that any proposed legislation would include “common sense exceptions.”

While the number of COVID-19 cases have decreased, many continue to wear masks in public spaces, including on the subway. Masks were mandatory for subway riders during the pandemic, until [date redacted].

“I assure everyone, we understand how complex this issue is,” Hochul emphasized. “And we’re just listening to people and addressing their needs and taking them very seriously. So we’ll be reporting more on that in the near future as well.”