County Leg leader again urges support for struggling small businesses

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 December 2020 at 1:54 pm

Lynne Johnson warns against ‘Covid fatigue’ as cases go up

ALBION – Orleans County residents are urged to support local small businesses this holiday season and also to take precautions against the spread of Covid-19.

“Small businesses are in trouble,” said Lynne Johnson, the chair of the Orleans County Legislature. “They are barely keeping themselves alive through this pandemic. We need to give them a lifeline. I can’t stress enough we need to shop local and we need to shop often.”

Lynne Johnson

Johnson and the other county legislators held a Zoom video conference with Darlene Hartway on Monday. Hartway delivered a message that the locally owned small businesses are worried about surviving the pandemic.

Covid-19 restrictions pushed more customer traffic to Big Box stores and online shopping, hurting the businesses on Main Street.

The holiday season comes at a time when Covid cases and hospitalizations are surging locally, in the region, state-wide and across the country.

If Orleans was designated a micro-cluster focus zone by the state, local businesses could see more restrictions. Johnson urged residents to continue to take precautions by wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer frequently.

“Covid fatigue is setting in right when it can be the most dangerous,” Johnson said on Tuesday during a Zoom conference call with elected officials. “We are facing our toughest test of the pandemic.”

Most of the recent surge is attributed to Covid spreading in-doors at house gatherings. New York is one of at least 15 states to set limits of 10 people for gatherings in private residences.

“It only takes one positive person who can spread it,” said Paul Pettit, public health director in Genesee and Orleans counties.

He said people don’t tend to wear masks in a private setting. Those gatherings are fueling some of the local spread, he said.

Orleans and Genesee are also seeing spread from workplace settings where some asymptomatic workers are passing it to co-workers who then take it home to family members.

“We’ve had several clusters where it was driven in the workplace,” Pettit said during the Zoom call on Tuesday.

If urged people who have symptoms to stay home from work or school and get tested to verify if they have Covid-19.