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Where are the 'Yellow Zones' in Erie County and what do they mean?

'In effect we have a little bit of time to reduce the virus before we shut down businesses, in-person school and gatherings,' said Mark Poloncarz.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following the announcement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that parts of Erie County will be going into a "Yellow Zone," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz shared a map of the areas that will be in the Yellow Zone.

Those areas include the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda, along with the towns of Amherst (including the Village of Williamsville), Cheektowaga, Clarence, Hamburg, West Seneca, Town of Tonawanda, Grand Island, Lancaster, Elma, Aurora and Orchard Park.

Poloncarz said on Twitter: "The following areas of Erie County marked in yellow will be in a yellow cluster zone. In effect we have a little bit of time to reduce the virus before we shut down businesses, in-person school and gatherings. All yellow cluster rules apply and bars must close at midnight."

Below are the restrictions under the Yellow Zone, or as the state calls it, Precautionary Zone:

  • Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity
  • Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Open
  • Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings. The New York State Department of Health will establish a percentage of teachers and students/staff who need to be tested by Friday.
  • Bars must closed at midnight.

When Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa learned about the Yellow Zone designation he said it was not a surprise. He said despite a few clusters in assisted living facilities the majority of COVID-19 cases in the town are from community spread.

"We are not overly surprised, we know that numbers have been going up for the past several days in Erie County and in our areas," he said.

The Town and Village of Hamburg are both also included in the yellow zone. 

"My feeling is that if we protect the public health and we take tough actions now as we did back in the spring, we're going to quickly get back to a new normal where restaurants, movie theatres, and other businesses can open up without any restrictions," said Hamburg Town Supervisor Jim Shaw.

Poloncarz also announced that the NYS Liquor Authority and Department of Agriculture and Markets will also be assisting the Erie County Department of Health inspectors to inspect bars, restaurants, supermarkets and big-box stores to ensure they are following all NY Forward guidelines. 

"We have been given a reprieve," Poloncarz said. "An opportunity to prevent shutdowns. If it gets worse, we expect to be moved to orange and if it gets really bad, red and none of us wants to see that."


Governor Cuomo said the micro-cluster approach works. BUFFALO, N.Y. - New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo provided an update into the state's progress on the COVID-19 pandemic Monday morning following a weekend of increased numbers in the Western New York region.

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