Local leaders express COVID concerns over local political rallies


With the Presidential Election just days away, and political leaders visiting Erie trying to sway voters, some folks are looking forward to attending these political rallies.

However in the last week, the number of COVID cases in the county have spiked.

Here is more on what people are saying about these potentially large gatherings.

Some people are saying that they will be taking safety precautions to attend these types of rallies. Others however are saying that even if you are wearing a mask, the number of people attending could make it difficult to properly social distance.

“It’ll be less than Trump nobody can attract ten, twenty thousand people at a rally, but I urge everybody to turn out at the airport to hear a powerful message from our vice president,” said Verel Salmon, Chairman of the Erie County Republican Party.

The Erie County Republican Committee Chairman, Verel Salmon, said that wearing a mask will be manditory at these upcoming rallies and social distancing will be encouraged.

“We always encourage masks and separation you know get the distance out there and the secret service is part of the deal deciding how things are set up,” said Salmon.

The County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said that while it may be exciting to see these candidates speak and attend large gatherings, it may not be the safest thing to do.

“Rallies are not safe. They are not safe because people are not socially distancing. You know you have a mask on, but even with your mask you need to keep at least a six foot distance from people you don’t live with and that’s just not possible when there’s hundreds if not thousands of people put in one space together,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.

Dahlkemper added that in Erie County New York, there have been COVID cases that are linked to the Trump rally that happened in Erie earlier this month.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jim Wertz said that there are alternatives to large in person gathering that could also be effective campaign strategies.

“This is 2020. These candidates are on social media everyday. They are connecting with people in real ways in face to face ways over Zoom and other technologies and so we have to take advantage of all of that,” said Jim Wertz, Chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party.

Members of both political parties are reminding people to vote this week. If you haven’t already, here is where you can find where to vote on Election Day.

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