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No COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Erie County for now, will remain in Phase 1 of four-phase approach

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 15:15:46-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Tuesday the county will not implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for now and will remain in Phase 1 of the four-phase approach it announced in November in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

As part of Phase 1 a mask mandate went into place for all public indoor settings in the county on November 23. Businesses or venues that require proof of vaccination to enter are exempt from the mandate.

As part of the four-phase approach, the county reassessed COVID-19 data Monday after three weeks of the mask mandate. The reassessment was to determine if there was a need to enter Phase 2 which would be a vaccine mandate to enter all indoor dining, bars and entertainment venues. The vaccine mandate would be similar to larger cities around the United States, such as New York City.

Poloncarz announced Tuesday, after the data was reviewed, the county will remain in Phase 1. The county executive cited the following as reasons why the county will remain in Phase 1:

  • Reduction in new cases, positivity rate and cases per 100,000/7 Days
  • The county's positivity rate of new cases is 2% to 3% lower than all other WNY counties with no prior mask mandate
  • New York State mask mandate will apply to more locations
  • Hospital capacity in the county has stabilized

A statewide mask mandate for all businesses and venues went into place in New York Monday. Businesses or venues that require proof of vaccination to enter are exempt from the mandate. The policy, similar to Erie County's approach, will be in effective until January 15 when the state will re-evaluate based on COVID-19 data.