City and county governments will be empowered to set mask wearing mandates in schools, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer had made the request, which Cuomo is granting statewide. 

Parents over the summer had raised concerns with the state's school reopening plan for endorsing, but not requiring mask wearing for students, teachers and staff in schools. Many details surrounding the reopening of schools were left up to local school officials. 

The New York State United Teachers union in August had estimated about 200 school districts out of 700 statewide do not have a mask requirement in place. State Education Department and the state Department of Health had issued conflicting guidelines on mask wearing.

Statewide, New York's COVID-19 positive rate over the last day was at 1.5%, a slight decline from 1.78%, which also includes a clusters of COVID-19 cases in parts of Orange and Rockland counties, as well as Queens, Brooklyn, and the Southern Tier region of the state. 

Fifteen people have been confirmed to have died of the virus in the last day while 1,085 people are hospitalized in the state due to the virus. 

Cuomo, meanwhile, acknowledged New Yorkers cannot be stopped from traveling this holiday season, but he urged them to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually with family members in order to prevent the spread of the virus.