(WIVB) – Erie County will stay in Phase 1 (mask mandate for all indoor public locations), Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced during a press conference on Tuesday.

The reasoning for staying in Phase 1 – rather than moving to Phase 2, which would involve vaccine mandates for indoor dining, entertainment, and bars – is stabilized hospital capacity in the county, as well as a recent reduction in new cases, positivity rate, and cases over seven days.

According to the Erie County Health Department, Erie County’s positivity rate of new cases is two to three percent lower than other WNY counties with no mask mandate.

The statewide mask mandate for public, indoor spaces started on Dec. 13 and will be reevaluated on Jan. 15.