Warnings, but no fines, so far for businesses ignoring mask mandate in Erie County

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) One week after the return of Erie County’s mask mandate, there are no indications that county officials are rushing to move to a phase two; requiring proof of vaccines to enter bars and restaurants.

“Our numbers are not good, they haven’t been for weeks now,'” said Mark Poloncarz, the Erie County Executive.

Although they are still not as high as they were last November, hospitalization rates have jumped 65-percent just in the past weeks in Erie County and could go higher when the effects of Thanksgiving gatherings start to show. For more than week now masks have been required in stores, bars and restaurants.


“I think the public gets it,” said Poloncarz. “I was out at a number of places this weekend, grocery shopping and so forth, including one of the largest grocery stores in the area, and I saw one person who wasn’t wearing a mask while hundreds of people were wearing masks.”

But the County has received more than 80 complaints about businesses not enforcing the mask mandate. Poloncarz says many of them have been given a first warning, and if it happens upon a second visit, then they could be fined. “So we’re just hoping that the businesses understand that we have no intention of fining anybody, nor do we have any interest in shutting anyone down if it got so bad that they were a repeat offender. We just ant people to wear masks. It’s bad out there, and I hope people would understand it including the business owners.”

The Town of Boston had the highest positivity rate in Erie County last week. Lancaster, Eden, Springville and Derby also fall into zip codes with high rates of Covid 19.

“If even just 10 percent are masking every time they go out in public , we will see a significant decrease in our hospital census from Covid 19 and that’ll be due to a significant decrease in the number of new Covid 19 cases,” said Dr. gale Burstein, the commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health.

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