Monroe County leaders, others react to mask mandate

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is offering support for the statewide mask mandate announced Friday by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Bello issued a statement Friday afternoon along with County Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza, saying the Governor’s plan is in line with the State of Emergency already in effect in Monroe County.

"My office has been in contact with leaders in the business community, and we are prepared to provide any necessary support once we see the full details of these new measures," the statement reads.

Greater Rocheter Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy also issued a statement:

"Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has always supported allowing businesses an opportunity to lead before the implementation of mandates. That said, Governor Hochul held off on instituting widespread directives to give the chance for self-correction. With the increasing trend in positivity rates and hospitalizations across the state, the Governor decided that action was necessary.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and a significant number of our members have already had in place for months mask and/or vaccination mandates for both visitors and staff. Each week I am in dozens of businesses and have been impressed both by the leadership they show in insisting on masks or vaccination for entry, and by the voluntary compliance I have seen among customers who take it upon themselves to be safe. Such policies are good practice and help to keep safe employees, patrons, and the community at large."

Duffy, Bello and Mendoza declined on-camera interviews.

Other reactions are below:

Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia):

“This holiday season is a crucial opportunity for businesses, particularly small, family-run businesses, to begin to recover from the economic shutdown of the pandemic. This new mask mandate threatens that opportunity and takes our economy a step backward. I have always believed that any such public health requirements throughout the COVID-19 pandemic should be left up to the localities. Our state is too vast and diverse for a one-size-fits-all approach. This state-wide mask mandate is not necessary, and I do not support it.”

Monroe County Republican Committee Chairman Bernie Iacovangelo:

“The Governor’s actions today are not about what is in the best interest of our citizens, businesses or the science behind COVID-19. It has always been about control and over-reach by our state government. Masking mandates are simply an excuse to return to 2020 and force shut-downs and instill fear into our citizens.” Chairman Iacovangelo continued, “The Governor’s actions have a nefarious objective – destroy our economy and keep New York citizens under foot. We will never support any action that would eliminate freedom of choice and decision-making by New Yorkers. Fear should never be a guiding principle and the behavior of
government to squash our rights as citizens is un-American and something that we see in Communist and Socialist nations. We need leaders that will collaborate and not dictate. We need leaders who will follow science and not scare-tactics to navigate everyone through this pandemic in a way that doesn’t create discord and chaos. New Yorkers deserve better.”

Republican candidate for New York Governor, Rob Astorino:

"On day one as governor, I will lift all mandates. We have vaccines and effective therapeutics in the tool kit. It’s time to return to normalcy just like the overwhelming majority of states and countries have done successfully. Instead, Kathy Hochul has us going backwards, nearly two years into this, mandating things that didn’t work the first time and issuing fines. We need to be going forward."