With the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul is instituting a mask mandate.

Hochul says masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement indoors.

She says the State Health Commissioner is backing the mask mandate.

"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."

Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 43 percent and hospitalizations have increased by 29 percent.

While the percentage of New Yorkers fully vaccinated continues to increase—gaining 2 percent from Thanksgiving weekend to now—the uptick is not fast enough to completely curb the spread of the virus, particularly among communities with low vaccination coverage, said the Governor.

The mask mandate will be in effect from December 13 until January 15, after which the State will re-evaluate based on current conditions.

Several states already have mask mandates, including New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii.

On Thursday, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente announced an indoor mask mandate for Oneida County.

Facials coverings will be required at places like stores, entertainment venues, and restaurants.

Madison County Board Chairman John Becker says Madison County will not be enforcing Governor Hochul’s latest mandate.

"While the County recognizes that masks can be helpful in stopping the spread of COVID-19, our data continues to suggest that the majority of new cases are coming from the household transmission and not from public places. This new mandate is another example of the disconnect that exists between Albany and our Upstate counties. We will continue to recommend that residents get vaccinated and wear masks in public places to help protect themselves from the virus, but in no way believe it should be mandated. The choice to vaccinate and protect oneself belongs to the individual.” said Becker.

Rare Schultz & Dooley Stein For Sale At Staggering Price

If you want to buy this, hustle because you never know when they will sell or hit the market again. Check out this link for the $2,000 50th anniversary edition.

11 Pizza Places Open Christmas Eve In The Utica And Rome Area

If your family goes all out for Christmas Eve dinner, sometimes figuring out what's open for you to order from can be a drag. Christmas Eve should be for spending time with your loved ones who traveled from near and far, not spent working the day away in the kitchen. Honestly, that's what Thanksgiving is for right? This is what makes pizza one of the ideal dishes for Christmas Eve gatherings, and it's good to know what places are open and what offers are available.

It is important to have the proper plans in place ahead of time. No one wants to be left scrambling for a decent pizza. Do you want your Christmas Eve gathering to be full of frozen pizza? Or, do you want your gathering to be full of amazing local pizza?

Luckily, on social media, the Facebook Group 315 Menus has your back. Recently the question was asked about Christmas Eve, and what's open vs what's not. Here's a list of 11 that was highlighted. If you know of more options, feel free to text us on our station app.

Fox Host Failla Reaches USA from WIBX Studio in Utica

The host of Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla which airs coast to coast and on WIBX 950 and 106.9 FM weekdays from noon 'til 3, was in Utica this past weekend. Jimmy Failla sat in on the Keeler in the Morning Show on Friday morning December 3, 2021, and then did his national show on FOX News Radio from WIBX's studio.

Failla is a former New York City cab driver turned stand up comic and over the weekend, he performed 4 sell-out shows at Utica's Fat Katz Comedy Club in Washington Mills.

Check out some snap shots from the weekend.