MANHATTAN – Anti-maskers, some dressed as giant babies, gathered outside Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side Friday morning to demand Mayor Eric Adams lift masking orders for toddlers, the only group of students still required by the New York City to wear a face covering at preschool or daycare.
“Let them smile! Let them Smile!” the crowd chanted on East End Avenue outside of Gracie Mansion before a handful of TV news cameras around 10:00 am.
“The Mayor has told us to trust him,” said Laura D’Andre, mother of a two year old, “yet he has continued to delay and equivocate, leaving toddler parents in the dark, providing no data, no goalposts and no metrics for when our children will finally have the mask choice that the rest of the city has enjoyed for over two months,” she added.
The Mayor lifted masking orders for school children in kindergarten through twelfth grade in March, with plans to end masking for children under five years old in preschool and daycare as well if the number of Covid-19 cases stayed low.
Those plans changed and the youngest New Yorkers—who aren’t yet eligible to vaccinated against the coronavirus— are still masking weeks later.
That has infuriated anti-mask parents who showed up outside Gracie Mansion Friday morning with signs demanding Mayor Adams ‘unmask our toddlers’ and declaring ‘children are not lab rats.’
“We are a statewide, national and international outlier in this policy,” said Daniela Jampel, a mother of two who was fired from her job as a lawyer with the NYC Law Department after confronting the Mayor over the toddler masking policy during a press conference earlier this month.
“It is cruel. It is unjust. It is anti-science,” the former City attorney said.
Mayor Adams has maintained he is following the science, saying earlier this month “I’m totally at the mercy of my health team.”