Following opposition from county leaders, state lawmakers and parents, New York State is changing its mask wearing requirements when it comes to young children.

Now, kids between the ages of two and five will no longer need to wear a facial covering while in child care or summer camp.

It’s being suggested they wear a mask to protect themselves from being exposed to COVID-19.

State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt held a rally in Albany on Monday to speak out against the governor’s mask mandate.

“This mandate was never based in science or simple common-sense, especially at a time when he was signaling that mask wearing will soon be a thing of the past for many adults. It caused unnecessary frustration and confusion for providers and parents alike, and I’m glad to see it lifted.” said Ortt.

The Neighborhood Center in Utica provides child care for children ages 6 to 12.

Executive Director Sandra Soroka says she’s “very happy" that the mask requirement has been lifted. Soroka says it’s very difficult for young children to maintain wearing a mask over a long period of time and wearing a mask socially is a big challenge as well.

She says daycare is an extension of the children’s homes and it’s not natural to wear a mask.

Soroka also says the center takes a number of precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including extensive cleaning and disinfecting.

The Neighborhood Center has over 100 children in in its day care program.

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