The Town of New Castle has become the first local government in the state to pass a local ordinance to mandate face masks to stop the spread of COVID19. Last night the Town Board unanimously approved the local law to require face masks following a public hearing.
On June 27, 2020 Governor Cuomo directed everyone who attended the Horace Greeley High School graduation and related graduation events to quarantine for 14 days to prevent the further spread of COVID19 following an outbreak caused by lack of social distancing and mask wearing at these events. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-directs-state-doh-investigation-potential-covid-19-exposure-high-school
The Chappaqua Central School District, in a community-wide communication on June 27th, said that despite the “careful” planning and adherence to the NYS guidelines for drive-in graduations “numerous individuals failed to follow our protocols.”
Subsequent to the quarantine directive, the New Castle Police Department continued to receive reports regarding parties and other events where social distancing was not being practiced, disregarding the Governor’s Executive Orders on mask wearing and social distancing, as well as the quarantine order itself.
With tensions running high in the community – over 300 households were in quarantine, many of whom had not left their vehicles during the ceremony nor attended the parties that weekend – at the behest of residents, the Town began to explore more seriously its options with regard to enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders. We consulted with the Governor’s Office, the New York State Department of Health, the County Executive’s Office, the Westchester Department of Health, and the Westchester County District Attorney.
As anyone who has been watching the press conferences knows, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly stressed that it is up to local governments to enforce the social distancing mandates, On June 15th he said, “If you have citizen compliance dropping, and you don’t have local governments enforcing, then you’re going to see the virus go up, period,” Yesterday, the Governor made yet another call for local governments to enforce safety precautions in their regions to prevent infection rates from spiking. “If you don’t do it, the virus will increase,” said Cuomo. A spike could put schools reopening in jeopardy, an issue that is important to many of us locally.
To be clear, this is not new policy. Our Local Law is aligned with the Governor’s Executive Orders. By passing a local ordinance, we have simply given our police department an enforcement mechanism, which does not exist in the Governor’s Executive Orders.
PRESENTATION - Local Law Requiring the Use of Face Masks and Face Coverings to Prevent the Spread of Infectious Diseases (PDF)
Final Local Law on Face Mask
Watch the Public Hearing from July 14th