The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has repealed the mask mandate for unvaccinated people three weeks after a federal lawsuit challenging the regulation’s constitutionality was filed.

The department’s commissioner Howard Zucker last Friday, Aug. 27, revoked a regulation, namely NYCRR 66-3, which required the non-vaxxed people to wear masks while the vaccinated people could go mask-free, Lifesite News reported.

Instead, he issued blanket mask mandates for school children and employees in certain sectors, such as healthcare and correctional facilities.

The commissioner stopped issuing mask mandates related to vaccine status after William Ouweleen, vintner for the oldest dedicated sacramental winery in America, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Aug. 5 challenging the regulation.

Ouweleen started the lawsuit after patrons of the winery twice cited him for not wearing a mask and was informed by the local health department he could be fined or closed down, or both, if additional complaints were received.

Ouweleen argued in the complaint that the NYSDOH’s regulation violated his constitutional rights and was not justified by science, citing confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccination does not prevent transmission of COVID-19.

“The science does not establish that prolonged use of masks is safe or effective. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines masks as experimental medical devices, and has not licensed them for use by the general public other than through Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA),” Ouweleen wrote.

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