WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Tuesday afternoon, Warren County made a statement similar to ones made by some of its neighbors, in response to a mandate from New York Governor Kathy Hochul mandating use of masks or proof of vaccination at all indoor businesses within the state. County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Rachel Seeber put out a statement regarding work the county has already done to reduce COVID-19 exposure, and explained why the county cannot do much to enforce the mandate.
“Even before the recent mask or vaccination mandate from New York State, Warren County has requested and continues to request that residents and visitors wear a mask in indoor public settings. There is enormous strain on our Warren County Health Department and other county agencies due to demands related to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, contact tracing and mandated isolations and quarantines, and we consequently lack the resources to effectively enforce New York State’s new mask or vaccine mandate,” Seeber said. “Additionally, Warren County Sheriff Jim LaFarr has rendered the opinion that local law enforcement does not have the ability or authority to enforce the mask mandate from the State of New York that was imposed effective Monday, December 13th.”
Earlier Tuesday, neighboring Washington County put out a similar statement, stressing the need to respect the policies of all individual businesses who require masks or proof of vaccination. Both counties have participated in coronavirus vaccine pushes throughout 2021, both separately and through joint efforts.
“I am continuing to urge residents and visitors to be considerate to our businesses and community organizations as these entities navigate this new state mask mandate despite the realistic difficulties for local agencies enforcing this mandate,” Seeber said. “Our goal is to keep our local businesses and organizations open to the public and keep their customers, visitors and employees safe. We have appreciated our partnership with New York State and the Aviation Mall mass vaccination and testing center that continues to serve thousands of New Yorkers weekly.”
Nearby Essex County is also not planning to enforce the mandate, according to Andrea Whitmarsh at Essex County Public Health. Saratoga County made a statement on Monday to a similar effect, and also does not plan to enforce the mandate.
The mandate from Hochul’s office gives individual businesses the choice between requiring all visitors to wear masks or show proof of COVID vaccination when entering an indoor place of business. It’s a business’ choice as to which thing to require. Many businesses in downtown Glens Falls on Tuesday bore signs in windows and doorways requiring masks.