Orleans, Genesee don’t plan to follow Erie County with indoor mask mandate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2021 at 6:49 pm

Orleans and Genesee counties have no intention of following Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz with a mask mandate in all indoor, public facilities. That mandate, announced Monday, took effect today.

Poloncarz took the action in response to a surge in Covid cases in Erie County.

Orleans and Genesee have among the highest positivity rates for Covid in the state. In the Erie County the percentage of Covid tests that have been positive the past seven days is 9.4 percent. It’s 10.0 in Genesee and 10.6 in Orleans.

Orleans and Genesee aren’t moving forward with an indoor mask mandate for public places.

“While we remain committed to the health and safety of our communities, Genesee and Orleans County will not be creating or implementing any new mask or vaccine mandates at this time,” according to a statement from Rochelle Stein, Chair of the Genesee County Legislature; Lynne Johnson, Chair of the Orleans County Legislature; Matthew Landers, Genesee County Manager; Jack Welch, Orleans County Chief Administrative Officer; and Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans counties.

“We believe new mandates will only push residents into private settings where spread will still continue but local businesses will suffer. For almost two years, businesses across the region have taken various measures to protect their workplaces and we trust them to do the same at this time.”

The joint statement from the Genesee and Orleans officials continues:

“We recognize and are concerned about rising infection and hospitalization rates, which is why we continue to strongly encourage our businesses and residents to continue to follow CDC recommendations and mitigation strategies such as practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated, including booster shots. It is also important to note that those who become infected and those who are symptomatic should immediately isolate.”

“Finally, the state needs to provide greater testing resources for our schools and community as a whole, both for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. This is important as those we can identify as Covid-19 positive can be quickly isolated to help prevent spread. Local governments alone cannot be expected to find and procure all of the test kits needed between the school and community needs.”