CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. — The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services gave an update Monday regarding the area's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the health department, social gatherings and lack of compliance with New York State rules is driving community spread of COVID-19 in the county. In response, the Chautauqua County Board of Health says it is moving forward with enhanced enforcement of the "New York Forward" reopening rules.
The county health department says any individuals who promote social gatherings that do not comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo's orders could be subject to fines up to $15,000. This includes venue owners, operators or managers who host social gatherings.
Any businesses that do not comply with New York Forward guidelines applicable to their business may be subject to fines of up to $2,000 per day, according to the health department. More information about the guidelines can be found here.
“Community spread of COVID-19 will only be controlled if each person takes personal responsibility for their health and that of those around them,” said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director. “Health Department staff are conducting inspections and investigating complaints; violations will go to the Board of Health for action against individuals and businesses. It is up to the businesses to make sure their staff and customers comply in order to keep all of their staff and customers safe.”
Schuyler added, “The Health Department and County Sheriff’s Office have been inundated with COVID-19 complaints and every effort is being made to investigate and resolve each of them. We are hopeful that issuing fines for violations will reinforce the importance of following the state’s rules, help improve compliance and ultimately, reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. At the same time, we remain so grateful to the large majority of our citizens who are carefully staying in compliance to enhance the safety of us all.”
The department of health is reminding residents that wearing face masks, social distancing, washing your hands, keeping family and social circles very small, reducing unnecessary travel and following reopening guidance under "New York Forward" all plays a critical role in keeping people safe and healthy during this time.