City of Niagara Falls & County Officials: Adhere to 50-Person Gathering Rule or be Prosecuted

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Niagara Falls City Hall

 

By: Staff Reporter

On March 7, 2020 the State of New York issued an order declaring a state of disaster emergency which throughout March 2020 grew to restrict economic activity, prohibit non-essential activities and gatherings. During this period the State required local governments to provide compliance enforcement of these various orders.

As Niagara Falls and Niagara County have moved through the phased reopening of the economy and activities, further executive orders have been issued to ease the restrictions, although not completely eliminate the restrictions, and again local governments are required to provide compliance enforcement with these changes.

On June 26, 2020, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo signed executive order 202.45 which modified prior executive orders to permit non-essential gatherings for any lawful purpose or reason to fifty (50) or fewer individuals in Niagara Falls and Niagara County. “As we enter the holiday weekend it is important to remember that gatherings exceeding the requirements of executive order 202.45 are subject to enforcement of the order and penalties as provided for by law. The City of Niagara Falls in conjunction with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office are committed to ensuring safe celebrations and gatherings for this holiday weekend and for as long as this health crisis continues”, Robert M. Restaino, Niagara Falls Mayor.

 

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek.

 

Efforts to prosecute violations of the executive order on gatherings have been in coordination with Niagara County District Attorney, Caroline A. Wojtaszek

“These restrictions are in place for the safety of our entire community.  While most people may contract Covid-19 and recover in due course, there exposure could spread and infect others who will suffer far worse consequences.  As the agencies tasked with ensuring public safety, we will work together to enforce the directives from our State.  Many people have suffered disappointment over the last few months from losing loved ones, to missed proms, weddings and graduations.  We must continue to sacrifice to the extent advised by health officials so we can safely move forward as a community.” – Caroline A. Wojtaszek, Niagara County District Attorney

While the efforts to enforce the executive orders remain the responsibility of local governments, local law enforcement agencies working with local government officials are prepared to enforce the executive order directives in the interest of public health.

 

Acting Sheriff Michael Filicetti.

 

“We have seen a surge of the pandemic in Southern states due to a lack of following protocols.  It is imperative we adhere to large gathering guidelines to keep all of our residents safe.” – Michael J. Filicetti, Niagara County Sheriff.

As summer officially sets in for Niagara Falls and Niagara County the threat from Covid-19 has not been eliminated, evident from the surge of cases throughout the United States.

“No one wants to see the City reverse the progress that has been made in the reopening of our business and activities,” said Mayor Restaino. “Certainly we can’t become complacent as the virus has not taken the summer off. We are asking that if you are intending to celebrate the holiday or have any gathering, it is important to remember that there are restrictions imposed by the State, which will be enforced and I thank District Attorney Wojtaszek and Sheriff Filicetti for their work with Police Superintendent Licata. Simply enjoy yourself but do so responsibly.”

 

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