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News of Otsego County

Mask ordinance

Cooperstown will halt enforcement of mask ordinance

Cooperstown will
halt enforcement
of mask ordinance

By Greg Klein • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Josh Edmonds shows design plans for a property at 10 Chestnut St., during a Board of Trustees meeting Monday, May 24, in Cooperstown. (Greg Klein/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – The village of Cooperstown will stop enforcing its mask mandate as it waits for the state to rescind Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders on the coronavirus pandemic.

The village’s Board of Trustees debated the issue at the end of a three-hour meeting Monday, May 24, in the village board room at 22 Main St., but decided against calling a public hearing on revoking the statute, which was passed in August.

The trustees voted unanimously to remove mask ordinance signs from in and around the village and to relax enforcement of the law. Trustee Richard Sternberg was not at the meeting.

Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri said he has heard the executive orders on the pandemic will be revoked July 1.

Because the village needs time to advertise a public hearing, and because there are several already scheduled for the trustees meeting Monday, June 28, Village Attorney Martin Tillapaugh said the trustees could simply take the mask ordinance signs down and let it be known that enforcing it is no longer a priority for village officials. He called it a “tacit acknowledgement.”

Common Council votes to repeal mask ordinance for downtown Oneonta

Common Council votes to repeal
mask ordinance for downtown Oneonta

STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 18, to no longer require masks in downtown Oneonta.

Masks would still be required at public events, such as the Memorial Day celebrations, because of the amount of people who cannot safely social distance.

Businesses and places of worship will still have the right to require masks.

The new mask guidelines will take affect in two weeks, after it is signed by Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig.

Mayor Proposes New Mask Law

Mayor Proposes

New Mask Law

Private Homes Won’t Be Included,

As In Law Herzig Vetoed Last Week

Mayor Herzig
Map provided by City Hall shows the MU-1 District where the proposed mask law would apply.

ONEONTA – After vetoing a mask ordinance last week, Mayor Gary Herzig will be asking the Common Council to approve a revised ordinance Tuesday that does not include regulations of activities inside private homes.

The revised ordinance will require masks at all times in outdoor public space in the city’s downtown (MU-1) zoning district. Masks will also be required by all customers in retail and service businesses, as well as in restaurants and bars when not seated and eating.

BULLETIN: MAYOR VETOES MASK LAW

BULLETIN

MAYOR VETOES

CITY MASK LAW

Mayor Herzig

ONEONTA – With multiple public comments submitted voicing concerns over the enforcement of wearing masks in private homes, Mayor Gary Herzig announced at the end of tonight’s public hearing that he would not sign the city’s mask ordinance, which narrowly passed Council, 5-2, with one abstention, at its last meeting.

“I fully support wearing masks,” said Herzig. “The intent of the law was to make local enforcement more effective. However, I do not believe this ordinance will achieve that purpose, and I will exercise my right to veto this law.”

Herzig said that he would sign an ordinance that required masks in the business district.

Details In This Week’s Hometown Oneonta

Oneonta Law Requires Masks In Private Homes

Oneonta Law Requires

Masks In Private Homes

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – With a 5-2 split on party lines and one abstention, Oneonta Common Council Tuesday, Oct. 6, moved closer to applying the state’s “Mask and Face Coverings” law locally, potentially bringing it into everyone’s living rooms.

Echoing the state law, the local law that is now going to public hearing requires people to where masks in all “public and private indoor and outdoor locations” when they cannot socially distance.

“This law covers nothing that isn’t already covered in the Governor’s executive orders,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. The law is intended to enable OPD to enforce the provisions, now in Public Health Law, within city limits.

“Right now, it’s difficult to write a ticket because we don’t have a way to reference the executive order,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner, “This just makes it easier, like we were writing a ticket for littering.”

“The police aren’t going to go around knocking on people’s doors,” said Herzig. “If someone calls in a large, noisy party and the police find that there is not appropriate social distancing, this gives them the authority to ticket them under city law.”

Democratic Council members Luke Murphy, First Ward, David Rissberger, Third Ward, Kaytee Lipari Shue, Fourth Ward, John Rafter, Seventh Ward and Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward, all voted yes.

The nays were Republicans Len Carson, Fifth Ward, and Scott Harrington, Sixth Ward.

Democrat Mark Davies, Second Ward, abstained. “As an employee of SUNY, I need to recuse myself,”
he said.

“I disagree with that statement,” said City Attorney David Merzig. “The law will be applied to all citizens.”

Explaining his vote, Murphy said, “Two days ago, I was walking past someone on Main Street, and it was so busy that we couldn’t get six feet apart without going on someone’s lawn. Luckily we both had masks.”

“It’s about marketing,” said Drnek. “People don’t want to come to Oneonta because they have a perception that it’s unsafe, but when I wear a mask, and you wear a mask, we know it’s safe to shop, to dine, to visit local merchants. Our community needs to know it’s safe to be in downtown Oneonta.”

“I’ve taken more engagement on this than any other issue since I started,” said Carson. “And 99 percent of the people I speak to are totally against this.”

“I understand the importance of wearing a mask,” said Harrington. “But I spoke to a lot of people in my ward, and they feel like it’s an overreach, that they’re adults and they know the guidelines.”

“We have a public health law, and I never hear complaining about the masks,” said Rissberger. “But as soon as we’re about to solidify the law, people get upset, which makes me wonder if they’re really wearing the mask.

It’s no different than the seatbelt law or the car seat laws. If the public health law isn’t overreach, than neither is this.”

The law now moves to a public hearing, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 20. Following the public hearing, Herzig will then have to sign the law.

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