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Rising COVID cases and mask restrictions bring renewed criticism and political attacks

Poloncarz cancels an event, Burke wants no COVID insurance coverage for unvaccinated.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo’s Resurgence Brewing did not want to talk about how it had been unwillingly pulled into the often acrimonious COVID conversation. 

A day after Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's announced a mask mandate for public venues, he found himself canceling a gathering at the brewery set for next week.

On Facebook, Poloncarz explained, “The staff at Resurgence has become the focus of increasingly nasty attacks by individuals planning to disrupt what should have been a happy holiday affair.”

The attacks believe linked to the new COVID restrictions announced by Poloncarz.

Rising to defend the event and the business, a frequent adversary of Poloncarz’, Joseph Lorigo. The Minority Leader of the Erie County Legislature rarely sees eye-to-eye with County Executive.

But Lorigo says people angry with Poloncarz should lay off the business, “You want to protest Mark Poloncarz? Go to the Rath Building. Do you want to protest against what he’s doing? Do you want to demonstrate outside Resurgence Brewing during his event? That’s fine too. But don’t direct threats at the people that work there.”

Also making news on the COVID front today, Assembly Member Pat Burke when he tweeted, “I’m introducing a bill that allows insurance providers to deny coverage for COVID-related treatment to those who refuse to be vaccinated. Do your part or pay your own way. Freedom isn’t free.”

And on 2 On Your Side’s Townhall, Burke did not back down from his position, “The conversation needs to be had. Should we continue to cover the cost of people who are refusing to get a reasonable treatment that is hurting the rest of us?”

Responding was Erie County GOP Chairman Karl Simmeth, who in a news release said Burke was, “a shameless socialist hack who will do or say anything to get the spotlight. Don't forget that you’re up for election, and rest assured, it's going to be a long 11 months for you.”

Still, Burke says he will push for the change in state insurance law when he returns to Albany.

But attorney Barry Covert isn’t sure it’s legal to deny insurance coverage to the unvaccinated, “Are the hospitals now going to turn someone away because that person does have insurance... but they can’t afford to pay for the COVIOD related treatment out of pocket? It seems like it going to be subject to numerous legal challenges.”