Governor Cuomo announces statewide COVID crackdown: Local officials react

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(WETM) – As COVID numbers rise throughout the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo says there will be restrictions in certain coronavirus hotspots, including shutdowns of businesses, houses of worship, and schools.

The rules will go into effect no later than Friday and are effecting certain downstate areas and an area within Binghamton. None of the hot spots in Chemung or Steuben are high enough to fall into one of the restrictions, yet, according to local officials.

The initiative divides hot spots by “zones” including yellow, orange, and red depending on the number of people infected per area. Red “intense clusters” will mean the closure of all non-essential businesses and schools and the zones will be separated by zip code.

“The zip code goes into yellow, at least it isn’t the entire county, it’s not the entire region, and then it gives the county the chance to try and figure out what is going on within that zip code,” said Chemung County Executive Chris Moss.

The Governor called out local governments for not enforcing social distancing rules causing the surge in some cases.

“We do not have the resources to go out and enforce facial coverings or social distancing,” said Moss. “But if the governor has the staff to send to Chemung county to enforce those social distancing and the facial coverings, more power to him.”

Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said that it was frustrating to hear the Governor blame local governments, but believes that it applies to areas downstate.

“They know that we are up here in terms of staffing,” said Wheeler. “We have all of our people in public health, folks in the sheriff’s department, emergency services, we are all on this and we are all working very hard,”

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