Today, Monday, December 13th, a new statewide mask mandate went into effect for New York. It was first announced last week by Governor Kathy Hochul and requires all public indoor buildings to require individuals to wear a mask, or, have a vaccine requirement which would then allow people to not wear a mask inside.

The new mask mandate comes with a current spike in COVID-19 numbers across the state, including and especially here in Western New York. Hochul says that 4.63 percent of tests done came back positive across the state on Saturday, with 70 percent of eligible New York residents having completed their vaccine dosage.

However, the new mask mandate has been received with mixed emotions. According to reports, multiple counties will not enforce the mandate, and Livingston County in particular has come out today and said they will not be enforcing the mask mandate, and disagree with Governor Hochul's decision.

Businesses in New York are required to have all persons inside their place of business masked until at least January 15th. It is at that date that the mandate will be re-evaluated.

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Here in Erie County, there has been an indoor mask mandate since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's part of a four-phase measure put in by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to try and slow down the spread of COVID-19. Phase two would be vaccine requirements, phase three capacity restrictions, and phase four would be more shutdowns.

It's not clear yet if Erie County will move into phase two or not.

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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