Local officials and business owners weigh in on possible local mask mandate

Local News

Low vaccination rates across five zip codes in Erie County could result in a local mask mandate. The Erie County Executive says that mandate could take effect if COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise.

With COVID-19 hospitalizations continuing to rise in Erie County, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper is considering another county-wide mask mandate.

The general manager of a local hardware store says while a mask mandate sounds like a step backwards. employees and customers a Kraus Department Store will do whatever it takes to keep COVID-19 transmission rates down.

“I don’t think there will be too much of an issue. There are going to be some customers that come in and fuss about it. but other than that, overall it shouldn’t be much of a problem because we already went through this once before,” said Adam Nowosielski, General Manager of Kraus Department Store.

Five zip codes in Erie County have vaccination rates lower than 40% percent, according to information posted on the Erie County Health Department’s website.

These zip codes include Albion, North Springfield, East Springfield, Union City, Corry, and Zone 1 of the City of Erie. One epidemiologist says, especially as temperatures drop and people start spending more time inside, masking initiatives will be helpful.

“We need to think about masking as an effective way to help stop the transmission of COVID, so as you are going to the store, as you’re doing, maybe, family gatherings with high risk individuals, masking is a really important part of that,” said Emily Shears.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper says a mask mandate would prevent circumstances similar to what we experienced in the beginning of the pandemic.

“We don’t want to have to go back to a moment where we’re saying “Businesses can only operate at a certain percentage of occupancy or people need to stay home.’ We want to allow people to continue to do the things they need to do. They want to do the things they need to do, we want businesses to still be able to have customers and continue to keep our economy moving,” Dahlkemper said.

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