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Starting Wednesday, most essential employees must be masked

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: April 14, 2020 06:46 PM
Created: April 14, 2020 06:04 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) — Between shutting down non-essential businesses, making sure people are properly distancing themselves and now making sure essential employees are masked, local towns and law enforcement have their hands full when it comes to enforcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders during this pandemic.

Starting Wednesday at 8 p.m., all essential employees who have direct interaction with the public must be masked while at work.  

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If they’re not, the company or agency they work for can be fined. The governor signed the order earlier this week, but it will be up to local law and code enforcers to make sure it’s followed.

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, the focus was on making sure all non-essential businesses were closed.

In the Town of Irondequoit, police officers had to go out and remind about a half-dozen businesses of the rule.

“From a car wash to restaurants. I know restaurants are doing take out but when you walk by and see people sitting at the counter as if it was open for normal business, that's obviously not in compliance with the executive order,” town Supervisor Dave Seeley told News10NBC.  

In all of the cases, the warning was enough for the business owners to close.  

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department has also been making the rounds to businesses ignoring the rules.

“We have a list that gets sent to us from the Attorney General's office of the online complaints they receive,” Chief Deputy Michael Fowler explained.  

Fowler explains that if a business continues to ignore the order, it will be cited by codes and could face fines.

Then, there’s the individuals choosing not to distance themselves from others.

“We do see some crowds of mostly younger teenagers, younger folks, things like that, that are gathered and need to be reminded but every time we've said something, they've complied and moved on,” Fowlers says.

So far, the county is not ticketing or fining anyone for violating social distancing rules.  

Starting tomorrow, they’ll have even more monitoring to do as the Governor’s new executive order mandates all companies give their essential workers a mask and those workers must wear the mask when interacting with the public.

“I hope that the businesses take the executive order seriously. The Governor brought it to that because I think he felt that businesses were not voluntarily doing that and I hope businesses take it seriously,” Seeley said.

Governor Cuomo said if people see violations of his executive orders, they should call 911.

“We have to be practical. We can't send deputies and police officers to every 911 call for someone that doesn't wear a mask, that's just not going to happen. We're going to prioritize those calls and screen them and we'll decide which ones are appropriate to respond to,” Fowler said.


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