Responsible Behavior will Keep Businesses Open
With a recent surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, it’s a good time for a reminder that how we all behave in this ongoing pandemic plays a dramatic role in how our local businesses can continue to operate.
Wearing a mask is not only essential in public places, it is required. Effective July 9, the New York State Department of Health issued an emergency rule that imposes enforcement measures for all places of business. Business operators and building owners are now required to deny entry to anyone who fails to comply with the face covering requirement. The rule is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation up to $10,000.
The use of a face covering that covers both your nose and mouth is a requirement in New York State whenever social distancing is not possible. It is required for both employees and customers and is explicitly named as part of all re-opening guidelines that businesses were required to read and affirm as they reopened. If a medical condition prevents the use of a cloth or disposable mask, a face shield can be substituted. More and more states are now requiring face coverings. New York State was at the forefront of this movement as scientific studies began to demonstrate that they help stop the spread of the virus – protecting both the wearer and those they may contact during the course of business.
We have seen a few businesses in Chautauqua County recently that have had employees test positive for COVID-19. Many of them chose to temporarily close for extra cleaning measures, and we applaud them all for the integrity they have demonstrated by publicly announcing their situations. It is testing, contact tracing, and this type of public disclosure that helps everyone to understand how the virus is spread and helps to keep us safe. Any business that has an immediate concern about employee or customer exposure should contact the Chautauqua County Health Department.
While some states are now back-tracking on their reopening plans due to rising case numbers, New York State has not been forced to do that. We need to continue moving in this positive direction. The losses associated with COVID-19 have been great, both from a public health and economic standpoint. Stopping the spread and keeping people safe and businesses open should be our goal.
In addition, New York State has a travel advisory posted now for 22 states. Anyone entering New York State from any of those states must quarantine for 14 days. The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Businesses should restrict travel to essential trips only and follow the quarantine rules.
We ask everyone to do their part by wearing a mask, social distancing whenever possible, and shop and dine responsibly when you visit our local stores and restaurants. There is a lot of great summer weather to enjoy our beautiful lakes, golf courses, hiking trails, beaches, and more.