ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Parts of Erie County could begin the Thanksgiving holiday weekend under the tightest restrictions seen since March.
In a COVID-19 update on Monday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "parts of Erie County are on track to become a Red Zone."
Right now, part of the county is in an Orange Zone, and the rest, along with North Tonawanda and part of Wheatfield in Niagara County, are in a Yellow Zone.
Last week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said a decision on whether part of the county would enter a Red Zone could be made as early as Wednesday, but the numbers point in that direction.
“We want to avoid the Red Zone. The governor said we are trending towards it and he is not wrong, but I am glad to say we have seen a stabilization in the testing positivity rate," Poloncarz said.
New #COVID19 case report for Nov. 22: 366 new cases were confirmed by @ECDOH out of 5,901 diagnostic reports received for a daily positivity rate of 6.2%.— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) November 23, 2020
The 7-day positivity rate average is 6.9%.
Total cases through Nov. 22 are now 21,680. pic.twitter.com/VqmT8RtHfC
Erie County falls under the state’s “Tier 1” where a Red Zone would see a 7-day rolling positivity average of 4% or above for 10 days and 10 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents also on a 7-day rolling average. As of Monday, the 7-day average for Erie County is 6.9% and areas like Hamburg and Lancaster are seeing more than 80 daily cases per 100,000 population on a 7-day average.
Cases confirmed by Zip Code. pic.twitter.com/3D3xSDsW15— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) November 23, 2020
The restrictions for a Red Zone according to the governor's office are:
- Houses of worship operate at 25% capacity or 10 people maximum.
- Mass gatherings are prohibited.
- Only essential business can be open.
- Restaurants can only offer takeout.
- Schools are closed and shift to remote learning.
Here is a breakdown of essential businesses allowed to stay open, per the governor's office:
"1. Essential health care operations including
- research and laboratory services
- walk-in-care health clinics and facilities
- veterinary and livestock medical services
- senior/elder care
- medical wholesale and distribution
- home health care workers or aides for the elderly
- doctors and doctors’ offices for both emergency and non-emergency appointments
- dentists and dental practices for both emergency and non-emergency appointments
- nursing homes, residential health care facilities, or congregate care facilities
- medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
- licensed mental health providers
- licensed substance abuse treatment providers
- medical billing support personnel
- speech pathologists and speech therapy
- chiropractic services
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- medically necessary massage therapy
2. Essential infrastructure including
- public and private utilities including but not limited to power generation, fuel supply, and transmission
- public water and wastewater
- telecommunications and data centers
- commercial shipping vessels/ports and seaports
- public and private transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, for-hire vehicles, garages
- hotels, and other places of accommodation, including campgrounds.
- Campgrounds must take precautions to ensure campers maintain appropriate social distancing and adhere to proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including but not limited to maintaining six feet of distance between campers, unless wearing an acceptable face covering, excluding persons from the same household who are camping together.
3. Essential manufacturing including
- food processing, manufacturing agents including all foods and beverages
- medical equipment/instruments
- sanitary products including personal care products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- food-producing agriculture/farms
- household paper products
- defense industry and the transportation infrastructure
- any parts or components necessary for essential products that are referenced within this guidance
4. Essential retail including
- grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
- convenience stores
- farmer’s markets
- gas stations
- restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
- hardware, appliance, and building material stores
- pet food
- telecommunications to service existing customers and accounts
- all other retail may operate for curbside pick-up or delivery only with no customers allowed within the establishment and only one employee physically present to fulfill orders.
5. Essential services including
- 2020 Census operations and activities
- trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal
- mail and shipping services
- laundromats and other clothing/fabric cleaning services
- building cleaning and maintenance
- child care services
- bicycle repair
- auto repair and maintenance
- automotive sales conducted remotely or electronically, with in-person vehicle showing, return, and delivery by appointment only
- warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
- funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
- storage for essential businesses
- maintenance for the infrastructure of the facility or to maintain or safeguard materials or products therein
- animal shelters and animal care including dog walking, animal boarding and pet grooming but only to the extent necessary to ensure animal health
- food and non-food agriculture
- landscaping, gardening and horticulture
- designing, printing, publishing and signage companies to the extent that they support essential businesses or services
- remote instruction or streaming of classes from public or private schools or health/fitness centers; provided, however, that no in-person congregate classes are permitted
6. News media
7. Certain office-based work, including financial services and research
- banks or lending institution
- services related to financial markets, except debt collection
- higher education research
- other office-based work not specified here may operate remotely
8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including
- homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
- food banks
- human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
- Construction projects may continue, but any work that can be done remotely such as office-based work must proceed remotely, to the extent practicable. Employees/personnel who are not directly involved in in-person work at the business location/construction site are prohibited.
- defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government
11. Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other businesses including
- law enforcement, including corrections and community supervision
- fire prevention and response
- building code enforcement
- security, including security personnel for residential and commercial buildings
- emergency management and response, EMS and 911 dispatch
- building cleaners or janitors
- general and specialized maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor, including but not limited to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and pool maintenance
- automotive repair
- cleaning, disinfection, and sanitation services
- occupational safety and health professionals
- residential and commercial moving services
12. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services including but not limited to:
- technology support for online services
- child care programs and services
- government owned or leased buildings
- essential government services
- any personnel necessary for online or distance learning or classes delivered via remote means
- Local government are permitted to determine whether parks and other public spaces, as well as low-risk recreational activities may be open.
- If open, appropriate social distancing of at least six feet among individuals must be abided, acceptable face coverings must be worn by individuals who are over the age of two and able to medically tolerate such coverings, and frequent cleaning/disinfection measures must be in place for hard surfaces and objects frequently touched by multiple people (e.g., handrails, benches).
14. Other professional services with extensive restrictions
- Lawyers may continue to perform all work necessary for any service so long as it is performed remotely.
- Any in-person work presence shall be limited to work only in support of essential businesses or services; however, even work in support of an essential business or service should be conducted as remotely as possible.
- Real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including but not limited to title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided, however, that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols; and nothing within this provision should be construed to allow brokerage and branch offices to remain open to the general public (i.e. not clients)."