Bello says Monroe County will enforce indoor mask mandate

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County is following Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new mandate for masks indoors. County Executive Adam Bello said the goal of all this is to keep businesses open and to keep people alive.

"We’re asking everyone to please comply," Bello said. "Let’s work together. Let’s work through this."

Monroe County is still under a state of emergency and Bello made it clear on Tuesday, our hospitals cannot take another surge in COVID-19 cases over the holidays. That’s why he’s enforcing the indoor mask mandate, but he says first it’s about education.

Bello didn’t even want to talk about enforcement or fines yet. He said this week is about working with businesses to make sure they’re in compliance with the new mask mandate.

The County Executive said we’ve been here before. We saw the same thing last year with a surge in COVID cases after Halloween and then after Thanksgiving. He said common-sense measures like wearing masks and social distancing works. Bello pointed to our schools where they follow those protocols, and the virus is not spreading.

Bello believes people will comply with the mask mandate and says conflict is not the goal.

"We will work with anybody. We’re going to work with the business community. We’ll work with those who are struggling to figure out how to implement a mandate in a way that keeps them open. We’ll work with them because we want them to survive. We want the same thing every other business here wants is for them to stay open. We also need people to stay alive," Bello said.

According to Hochul’s mandate, a business or person can be fined up to $1,000 for violating this order.

So what happens if a business or customers don’t follow the new mask mandate here in Monroe County? Bello says the county will follow up with them and work with them to get them into compliance.

"The goal isn’t to fine businesses. The goal isn’t to shut businesses down," Bello said. "The goal is actually to keep everybody open. The goal is to keep everybody safe and keep everybody healthy at the end of the day. That’s the goal."

Click here to see what other Finger Lakes county leaders are saying about their plans to enforce or not enforce the mask mandate.