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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

A look at how face-covering mandate by Cuomo will be enforced

'I don't want to go to a penalty yet. We haven't seen flagrant noncompliance, so there won't be a penalty. But it is an executive order. I'm directing,' Cuomo said.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Beginning Friday, all New Yorkers will be required to wear a mask or face covering in public and in situations where social distancing is not possible. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is giving a three-day notice to allow compliance with this executive order.

Cuomo said in a news conference, "Stopping the spread is everything. How can you not wear a mask when you're gonna come close to a person?"

The governor added, "I don't want to go to a penalty yet. We haven't seen flagrant noncompliance, so there won't be a penalty. But it is an executive order. I'm directing. If people don't follow it, we could do a civil penalty. You're not going to go to jail for not wearing your mask."

According to Mayor Byron Brown, many people in the City of Buffalo were one step ahead of the governor's executive order. 

"We see most people now that are out in the City of Buffalo wearing masks already. We would ask that all residents in the City of Buffalo follow the governor's executive order," Brown said.

So how will this be enforced locally?

Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told 2 on Your Side, "As we've said from the beginning, we're not looking to criminalize anybody's behavior through this crisis that we're experiencing." 

He added, "We as a department have recommendations that if we have to respond to a call for service or somebody's making a complaint that somebody else is not adhering to this, our goal would be to advise the person of the governor's order and then to encourage them to make arrangements to secure a face covering for the future."

Rinaldo told us he believes members of law enforcement likely won't be the only people holding others accountable.

"I think you will see a lot of societal enforcement where whether it will be a store saying that a mask is required to enter the store or other situations where it will kind of police itself," Rinaldo explained.

The governor used the example of going on a run to explain that while you don't always need to be wearing the mask or face covering, you need it in position for use should you come within six feet of another person. 

"You wear a mask, you keep it below your chin and then when you are running and you come close to a person, you either run across the street or you put the mask up over your mouth and nose," Cuomo said. 

Rinaldo added, "The order takes effect on Friday but again in terms of us asking people to appropriately social distance or if they're engaging in activities that is kind of contradictory to what is expected, just like we have been all along, we will continue to reinforce that message."

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