Protesters rally against COVID-19 restrictions in Rochester: ‘This is ridiculous!’


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A group of local demonstrators gathered Monday to protest COVID-19 restrictions, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic.

The protest happened on Westfall Road Monday afternoon, shortly after Gov. Cuomo announced that portions of the area — including parts of Rochester, Irondequoit, Brighton and Gates — were upgraded to a COVID-19 orange zone, which brings new rules and restrictions.

Very few people at the protest Monday were seen wearing masks and most argued that their rights are being violated.

According to the governor’s office, orange zone restrictions include:

  • Non-essential gatherings shall be limited to 10 people
  • Houses of worship are subject to a capacity limit of the lesser of 33% of maximum occupancy or 25 people, whichever is fewer
  • Restaurants and taverns must cease serving patrons food or beverage inside on-premises but may provide outdoor service, and may be open for takeout or delivery, provided that any one seated group or party must not exceed 4 people
  • Schools must close for in-person instruction, except as otherwise provided in Executive Order.
  • Certain non-essential businesses, for which there is a higher risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, shall reduce in-person workforce by 100%; such businesses include:
    • Gyms, fitness centers or classes
    • Hair salons and barbershops
    • All other personal care services including but not limited to spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis

For businesses, and religious worship, the orange zone goes into effect Wednesday. For schools, the rules take effect Thursday.

The governor said the state was reevaluating school restrictions, specifically for grades K-8 where the positivity rate, and transmission of the virus, remains very low. He said that junior high schools and high schools are a different pattern of transmission, but added that states in COVID-19 color zones can test out of the closure.

“Schools may reopen if they follow new guidelines that require mass testing in schools before they reopen followed by vigilant symptom and exposure screening conducted daily,” according to the New York State Department of Health.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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