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Poloncarz addresses maskless group photo

The Erie County Executive said he was not wearing a mask because he 'plain forgot to wear one,' adding 'it happens.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released a statement Sunday afternoon after a group photo picturing him not wearing a mask or social distancing went viral over the weekend. 

Poloncarz said on Twitter that the photo was taken on Saturday along with members of a golf team that he's part of. The county executive said he was not wearing a mask because he "plain forgot to wear one," adding "it happens."

The photo was posted on the South Park Golf Club Twitter page, which can be seen below.

Poloncarz also released the following statement:

"Yesterday I was part of a team golf event in which our team won and I was asked to get in a photo with some of the team members. I did and forgot to wear my mask. We stood together for about 15 seconds. I should have worn a mask but forgot. It happens. Our Department of Health considers a close contact being with others for more than 10 minutes. While I should have worn a mask nothing the team members did in that photo is contrary to our health protocols: We were outside, less than 20 people and together for the photo for about 15 seconds. This just goes to show how we can all make a mistake and reminds me why I must carry a mask with me at all times."

Here in New York State, people are required to wear masks when they cannot safely socially distance from others.

Just the other day, Poloncarz tweeted that the best thing Americans can do to protect themselves from COVID-19 is by wearing a mask when you're unable to safely socially distance.