ONEONTA, N.Y. - Following the COVID-19 outbreak at SUNY Oneonta over the summer, city officials are looking at how they can better enforce state mandates to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A proposition to adopt a local mask ordinance was approved Tuesday by the common council in a 5-2 vote. Councilman Mark Davies abstained.
The ordinance is similar to the state health department's requirement that a mask must be worn when it is not possible to remain six feet away from others.
The ordinance requires people to wear masks within public and private places, when social distancing is not possible. If signed into law, officials say it will make police better able to enforce the rules locally.
Though the legislation passed, council members still had different opinions on the ordinance.
“I think it's important that we remain quite vigilant about the safety measures,” said council member Kaytee Lipari Shur. “With that being said, I’m not 100% thrilled with where we ended up as a result of compromise through that discussion I don't feel that this legislation totally protects folks in densely populated neighborhoods.”
Before the ordinance can become law, there will be a public hearing in two weeks.
After that, the mayor has the option to either veto or sign the legislation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on local governments to do a better job of enfocing state mandates throughout the pandemic. On Tuesday, he said the state would put stricter rules in place in hot spots to curb the spread.