Gov. Hochul says COVID hospitalizations in NY up 70% per 100,000 people since Thanksgiving

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced during her COVID-19 briefing Tuesday that hospitalizations are up 70% per 100,000 since Thanksgiving – a figure she called “alarming.” 
Her briefing marked one year since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered on Long Island. 
"If we got to 100% vaccinated, we wouldn't be here,” she said. 
The governor said that her mask mandate, which is being enforced at the discretion of county executives, is meant to keep businesses open and keep people safe during an expected holiday surge. 
She said that she will not go back to shutdowns. 
"I will not go to that space," said Hochul. "I will do everything I can to protect people while in a pandemic." 
Richard Donovan, owner of All Seasons Wine and Spirits in Yorktown, says he is trying to follow the mask mandate. However, since he posted the “masks required” sign, his customers have decided to shop elsewhere. 
Currently, each county can decide whether to follow the mandate. Westchester County supports it while counties like Putnam do not. 
In a letter to Gov. Hochul, Yorktown town supervisor Matt Slater says individual towns should decide whether or not to follow the mandate. 
“We see that we have people getting hurt, mostly our small businesses who are losing customers,” says Slater. “They are either confused or as a sign of protest, going to a different county to do their shopping.” 
Donovan says it does not matter which way he chooses.  
“Follow the policies or not, I’m gonna tick off half of my customer base,” says Donovan. 
Gov. Hochul says the mandate will be reevaluated on Jan. 15.