New York will implement a statewide mask mandate for most indoor activity – unless a business or venue requires all patrons and staff to be fully vaccinated, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday.

The new mandate, which will take effect Monday, will require anyone over the age of two to wear a mask covering their face and nose at all times while in an indoor public space. Businesses and venues that choose to impose a vaccine mandate would not be required to also mandate masks, according to Hochul’s office. Those in violation of the mandate are subject to a $1,000 fine, Hochul said. Local health departments will be tasked with enforcing the mandate.

The announcement comes as the number of COVID cases continues to increase at a rapid clip throughout the state, and a day after the governor herself had warned that she would soon release new protocols.

Statewide, there had been about 50 average daily cases per 100,000 residents for the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, according to state data. That translates to about 7,000 cases per day -- the highest average daily total New York had seen since late January, when the state was coming down from its second peak. Hospitalizations are also spiking in the northern and western parts of the state.

“We're entering a time of uncertainty, and we could either plateau here or our cases could escalate beyond control,” Hochul said at an unrelated event at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center in Manhattan. “We are staring upward, my friends. I've been watching this closely. We're heading upward in a direction that I find is no longer sustainable.”

"I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: Increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas," Hochul said in a statement.

The new mandate is not likely to have much effect in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has already required vaccination for most indoor activities. But it will be a major change in much of the rest of the state – including some of the city’s suburbs – where local leaders have been less willing to embrace vaccination or masking requirements.

The case numbers are also rising in New York City, though they remain significantly lower than the rest of the state. For the week ending Wednesday, the city saw about 30 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to state data.

“Your infections are not as high as the rest of the state,” Hochul said in Manhattan. “But the rest of the state now has a wake-up call.”

Hochul has repeatedly pointed to strict COVID and masking protocols in New York City as the main reason for the disparities throughout the state, including the vaccination requirement for indoor activity.

She decided to implement the new state-level mandate after conversations with local government officials, including those in Erie and Broome counties. They asked her to intervene as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“I said I’d give them air cover,” Hochul told reporters. “I would give them the protection of having a mandate that is based again on the science, the data and what we see coming despite the fact that this was completely avoidable.”

The new mask-or-vaccine rule drew mixed reactions from the business community and immediate criticism from the state’s top Republicans.

The Business Council of New York State, the leading business lobby, reiterated support for measures that help stop coronavirus spread. But Heather Briccetti, the organization’s president and CEO, sounded a note of caution when it came to enforcing the measure and the confrontational position it could put business owners in.

“Our hope is people respect the state’s directive and employees of businesses by not putting them in the difficult position of having to enforce the mandate through confrontation,” Briccetti said in a statement.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, a Republican from Oswego County, criticized Hochul for her “heavy-handed” approach, accusing her of handing down a mandate “without notice” and “with little information.”

“Putting more costly restrictions on small businesses will do more harm than good to the job creators still trying to regain their footing after the lockdowns of 2020,” Barclay said in a statement.

In a press release, Hochul’s office suggested the new mandate will be routed through the New York State Department of Health, though it wasn’t immediately clear if it would be issued as an emergency regulation or through some other mechanism.

The new mask mandate is being implemented through the state Department of Health and has the support of Acting Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, who formerly filled the same role in de Blasio’s administration.

“Getting vaccinated protects you, and wearing a mask is how we will better protect each other,” Bassett said in a statement released by Hochul’s office. “Both vaccination and mask-wearing are needed to slow this COVID-19 winter surge."

If businesses and venues opt to require vaccination, patrons would be required to show proof they are at least two weeks removed from the last shot of their initial vaccination series. That means 14 days beyond their single shot of Johnson & Johnson or their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

The state will allow a handful of ways to prove it: A completed CDC vaccination card, the New York Excelsior Pass, the Excelsior Pass Plus or an out-of-state SMART Health Card, according to Hochul’s office.

Speaking to reporters, Hochul said she will review the policy by January 15th and decide whether to renew or end it. Businesses were looking for “clarity” on the length of the mandate and assurance that it wouldn’t go on in perpetuity.

“I heard them loud and clear,” she said.

This story has been updated.