KINGSLEY: Mask Law, $1,000K Fine Unecessary, Overreach

ISSUE & DEBATE: NAY

Mask Law, $1,000K Fine

Unecessary, Overreach

Editor’s Note:  Marc Kingsley, Inn at Cooperstown proprietor,  gave this testimony against at law requiring mask-wearing in downtown Cooperstown.  Local Law 7 was approved by the Village Board after a Monday, Aug. 10, public hearing.

By MARC KINGSLEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The proposed mask law. I don’t understand why the village is pursuing this.

As I understand it New York State already passed a law requiring almost everyone to wear a mask in public if social distancing cannot be done, and telling businesses they must enforce mask use or deny entry if they refuse.

So this proposed law is redundant, over-reaching and an over-reaction by the Village Board. And while I commend the village for thinking about the safety and well being of everyone, the statistics show we have very low case and death rates, so I don’t know why you feel we need yet another law.

Depending on which news article on websites you read, Otsego County has 109 or 116 confirmed cases and either six or four deaths.

According to the state Department of Health website, the county has tested 14,997 people, has 116 confirmed cases, and four deaths. In the past eight days, 1,364 have been tested with four confirmed cases and zero deaths.

Since mid-June, New York State, as a whole, is steady and trending down with the number of confirmed cases and deaths.

Yes, we want everyone to be safe and we don’t want cases or deaths to start increasing again.

There are several ways to contract COVID-19 with droplets being the leading cause. One can also contract COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces. Wearing a mask is a great idea, but so is cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

As a lodging property, we enforce wearing a mask, social distancing and, additionally, we increased the cleaning/disinfecting of high-touch points, use of hand sanitizer, and initiated several other protocols for guest and employee safety.

If the village really cared about the safety and well-being of everyone, one would think you would address contracting COVID-19 by contacting a high-touch point on Main Street and take steps to help mitigate those areas.

As I see it, you are only focusing on mask wearing and an absolutely obscene fine if caught not wearing one. What about contracting COVID-19 by contact. I want to hear how you’re going to mitigate the possible transmission when people touch the cross walk buttons, trash receptacle handles, paid-parking kiosks, benches up and down Main Street, the tables and chairs in Pioneer Park, TV screen at the help kiosk in Pioneer Park.

I see tens if not hundreds of people touching them on a daily basis, so how are you going to ensure they are cleaned and disinfected? Who do we fine or hold responsible for not keeping those items cleaned? I mean as a business we are required to do that!

In closing, I do not agree with this law. There is already a law in place for this. We are just one of several tourist destinations in the state and approving this law and fine structure is a huge negative for Cooperstown and will drive away guests (local and tourists) and further hurt many local businesses which have already been hit hard.

Instead, why aren’t we focusing on positives, what the village and businesses are already doing to help keep the locals and visiting guests safe?


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