Gov. Cuomo wants to see mask order enforced, thinks there should be a penalty

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 09:51:47-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he thinks local governments should enforce the masks in public executive order, and that there should be a penalty.

"Local governments have the ability to enforce and to penalize that's up to local governments," he said. "But do I think local governments should be enforcing it and should there be sanctions, yes, yes because it is a public health emergency."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown would not go as far as the governor in regards to enforcement. He said police are out at city parks, but are not there to hand out punishments.

“They are patrolling, they are reminding people of the rules, we need people to do the right thing on their own," Brown said.

James Rizzi lives near Shoshone Park in Buffalo. He took his newborn son out for the warm weather this past weekend, and said in his estimate only 10-20% of people wore masks while he was there.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of people not wearing masks, which is kind of disheartening," Rizzi said.

Cuomo's executive order requires people to cover their face when social distancing is not possible.

Brown has said that businesses can enforce the order, and tell people to not come back if they are not wearing a mask. Mike Caputi owns Daily Planet Coffee shop on Hertel Avenue, and said 99.9% of the people that come in are wearing masks. He said he can only recall one take-out customer that was not following the mask mandate.

“We did have someone come in who wasn’t wearing a mask, and didn’t seem to be practicing social distancing, and we did politely ask him to step outside and we told him we’d take care of his order and bring it out to him," Caputi said.

Brown said there would be consequences in egregious situations. He referred to a mass gathering at a social club that the Buffalo Police shutdown last week. Brown said the people were removed, and the establishment is currently not able to reopen.