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Will COVID mask mandates be returning to all public spaces across New York after Erie County moves that way?

Erie County has instituted one of the most restrictive measures seen during the pandemic, since shutdowns in 2020. On Monday, county leaders announced a mask mandate for all indoor settings – including restaurants, gyms, and all other ‘public’ settings.

As cases rise throughout the Finger Lakes and Western New York, a question has been raised: Will a mask mandate be coming to my community next?

The Erie County mask mandate goes into effect today. Business owners in other communities outside of Erie say that if a mask mandate returns – they aren’t sure what that will mean for business.

“We have had to deal with so much already,” one business owner told FingerLakes1.com. They asked not to be identified due to the ‘politicization of the pandemic’ and subsequent policies. “I want everyone to be safe, but it’s the whiplash of policies – or those that vary by zip code that just make absolutely no sense.”


But the mask mandate is really only the beginning in Erie County. If this doesn’t work, officials will evaluate a vaccine mandate for most businesses and patrons effective mid-December.

It’s part of the county’s four pronged approach to dealing with rising COVID cases and hospitalizations.

“I don’t even know how that would happen,” that frustrated business owner added. “We don’t have a liquor license. Who’s the regulating authority? The health department?”

Experts are already weighing in online saying that the entire prospect of mask mandates that aren’t handed down by the state will require some testing in court. If policies like Erie’s are considered a long-term winter solution to COVID cases, then it’s likely to be challenged.

RELATED: Erie County enforcing mask mandate for all public, indoor locations (FingerLakes1.com)



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