Marilla Supervisor says town won’t comply with county mask mandate

Erie County

MARILLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Earl Gingerich, Jr., the Town of Marilla Supervisor, says the town will not comply with Erie County’s new mask mandate.

This past Monday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that people in indoor, public places must be masked. This took effect on Tuesday morning.

The only exceptions are places with a 100 percent vaccination requirement for entry.

MORE | Erie County mask mandate for all indoor, public locations takes effect

The mandate has been met with mixed reception, with some people complying and others outright refusing to take part.

Gingerich says Marilla is among the latter. In an email to News 4 on Thursday morning, the Town Supervisor said “The town will defend our businesses and residents’ right to make their own decisions.”

This week, Poloncarz said county sanitarians began visiting businesses in the county, checking to see if they’re following the rules.

Overall, he says compliance has been “pretty good,” but sanitarians have had to issue warnings to some. It’s not clear how many warnings were issued.

MORE | Business owners prepared to enforce Erie County mask mandate – to varying degrees

Peter Anderson, press secretary to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, released a statement to News 4 saying Gingerich Jr.’s refusal to enforce the mask mandate is “a shame when an elected official values political posturing over protecting the health and safety of their constituents.”

“It’s a shame when an elected official values political posturing over protecting the health and safety of their constituents. Earlier today we heard from a Marilla business owner who said that he and other business owners were never consulted before this announcement was made, and they plan to comply with the mask mandate and not be grouped into whatever the Supervisor is doing. With virus cases on the rise and new strains of the virus being identified, it’s more important than ever to protect ourselves and others and masking is an important step.”

Peter Anderson, Press Secretary, Office of the Erie County Executive

The mask mandate is part of a four-phase plan announced on Monday. But this is a situation where Poloncarz hopes to not reach the remaining phases.

Hospitalization rates will determine whether or not we see a vaccine mandate, capacity restrictions or shutdowns, Poloncarz says.

During a conference on Wednesday afternoon, the County Executive said he hopes to see positive results from the mask mandate in about a week.

COVID-19 News

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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