County officials say hospitalizations, shutdowns, are preventable amid new initiative

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Monday launched a new campaign called "Vax. Boost. Mask – Let’s Keep Monroe Open".

"Let’s Keep Monroe Open" posters will be placed in the windows of particiapting businesses in attempt to remind customers to wear their masks as they enter. The county says this will help keep the business open, and their employees safe.

Wegmans hosted Monday’s news conference, adding some name recognition, this renewed plea from community leaders.

"We’re asking everyone to please wear your masks a little while longer until we can get this virus under control," said Wegmans CEO Colleen Wegman. "We greatly appreciate all of our customers who are already wearing their masks in our stores today."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the new campaign comes as the region is experiencing an ICU surge. Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza added, although there are several things we still don’t know about the omicron variant the virus, and an economic shutdown are both preventable.

"When you see the Keep Monroe Open sign in a window that is a business person who cares about every single person who walks through their door whether they’re punching the clock, filling the shopping. They all matter," Mendoza said.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy took it a step further.

"Go back one year with Red Zones, Yellow Zones, and think of the economic devastations that really hit this community, and really across the state, and county with businesses that were closed down. We do not want that to happen again," Duffy said.

Bello said the current surge we’re seeing in COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations is similar to last year and the only difference is that vaccines were not available to almost everyone like they are today.