Did you ever think that you would see the day that you’d walk into a bank and stand in line behind someone wearing a bandanna over the lower half of their face and nobody would bat an eyelash?

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Believe it or not, for nearly two centuries, New York Penal Law 240.35(4), stated that it was illegal for two or more people to wear masks in public unless it were to occur in connection with a masquerade party or city-sanctioned event. The law also stated that those found guilty of doing so could face up to fifteen-days of imprisonment.

In the summer of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo was presented with a piece of legislation that would permanently repeal N.Y. Penal Law 240.35(4), a nearly two-century-old statute. The governor signed the repeal meaning that it would no longer be considered a violation of the Penal Law to wear a mask in public.

While we understand why for nearly two hundred years New York state lawmakers have been against people wearing masks in public, there are some laws on the books in New York that have left us baffled and these are some of them.

Six Strange New York State Laws


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