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Grand Island Town Board votes in favor of resolution against county COVID mandates

Grand Island leaders are requesting that no outside agency enter the town to enforce COVID-19 mandates.

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. — Grand Island Town Board voted in a resolution that rejected Erie County’s mask mandate order, requesting that county and state officials and any other outside agencies not enter the town and enforcement State of Emergency mandates associated with COVID-19.

The resolution was agenda number nine at Monday’s board meeting. Members of the community shared their opinions in person and via Zoom, some in favor of the resolution, and others opposed.

Ultimately, four members of the Town Board voted to support the resolution which aligns with Island Supervisor John Whitney’s statements which he personally released rejecting the COVID mandates Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz put in place with the support of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein last month.

A statement sent out by councilmembers Jenn Baney and Mike Madigan, reads in part, “We believe our residents, businesses, employers and other institutions across our town should implement the safety protocols that make sense for their operations, and they should have the right and freedom to do so. COVID-19 has been with us for 21 months and we accept that is now part of a new reality that must be accepted and no longer handled as a crisis.”

Madigan tells 2 On Your Side, “We need to deal with our capacity issues in our hospitals and we need to not be laying off out health care heroes. This is about having the right to choose.”

While resolutions do not hold legal weight, the next step is for the town’s resolution and vote to make their way to the offices of Governor Hochul and County Executive Poloncarz.

As of right now, phase one of Erie County’s COVID-19 new COVID-19 plan, mask mandates, is still in place.