New mask, face covering order takes effect at 8 p.m.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Nick Pahura, an Albion firefighter, wears a mask when he responded to an accident Thursday morning on Route 31. This was the first no-EMS call where Albion firefighters all wore face coverings to the scene.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2020 at 7:29 pm

The Governor’s executive order requiring people to wear a mask or a cloth covering their mouth and nose takes effect at 8 p.m. today. The order applies when people are out in public and can’t maintaining social distancing.

Children under age 2 or those medically unable to wear masks are exempt from the directive.

Andrew Cuomo announced the new executive order on Wednesday. He said local governments should enforce the executive order, but people won’t be subject to criminal penalties. However, if there isn’t widespread public acceptance of the executive order, Cuomo said the state could impose civilian penalties.

“I understand, I’m getting a lot of not happy phone calls,” he said on Thursday during a news conference. “I’m sorry it makes people unhappy. I don’t consider it a major burden and it is really a simple measure that can save lives.”

Paul Pettit, public health director in Orleans and Genesee counties, urged people to follow the directive. It provides extra protection for the public. It reduces spray and spit from people wearing the mask or cloth covering.

Pettit praised many in the community who have made masks and cloth coverings.

“It is the requirement the governor has put in place,” Pettit said today. “The whole idea is to slow the spread.”

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