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No mask, vaccine mandates for Blakeman inauguration

Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman, center, along with

Nassau County Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman, center, along with Legis. Howard Kopel, right, and Legislator-elect Mazi Pilip, left, makes an announcement in Mineola on Friday. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Bruce Blakeman will be inaugurated as Nassau County Executive on Monday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, where there will be no indoor mask mandate or vaccine requirement to attend.

As the omicron variant surges, Blakeman told Newsday last week: "There will not be a vaccine mandate, there will not be a mask mandate. People can wear masks if they're comfortable doing that. And if they're not comfortable wearing a mask, that's fine. We're not going to enforce it."

Democratic Nassau County legislators criticized the move. In a statement, the caucus' chief of staff William Biamonte said: "At a time when Long Island's positivity rate continues to soar, it would be most prudent to postpone this ceremonial gathering in the interest of preventing a potential super-spreader event. However, if the County Executive-elect chooses to proceed, we urge everyone who attends to take every possible precaution to protect themselves and others."

In addition to Blakeman, Monday's ceremony will include the swearings-in of incoming Nassau Comptroller Elaine Phillips and County Clerk Maureen O'Connell, both Republicans.

Other officials on Long Island and New York State have canceled plans for indoor inaugurations.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, was inaugurated in Times Square shortly after midnight Saturday after the New Year's Ball dropped. His initial plan had been to be inaugurated Saturday evening at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

In Suffolk, Democratic Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. postponed his indoor inauguration ceremony, which had been scheduled for Dec. 29 at the Brentwood campus of Suffolk County Community College.

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