An executive order talked about this week by Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, punishing businesses who allow un-masked patrons to enter their establishments, will take effect on Friday.

Picente said such businesses would face a maximum fine of $2,000 and a Class-A misdemeanor charge for violating a public health order. However, he said similar to previous orders that prohobited patrons from congregating in local establishments, businesses would likely be issued a warning first. Sheriff's deputies will not be actively patrolling businesses looking to issue tickets, he said, but would rely on complaints from the public to identify possible violations.

He also clarified that customers can wear a scarf, bandanna or something covering their face, not neccessarily a cloth or surgical mask.

The executive order is expected to be signed by Public Health Director Phyllis Ellis later today, he said, and would take effect three days later.

At his daily briefing on Monday, Picente said someone who enters a business without a mask should be asked to leave. If they refuse, he said, the establishment should call police.

''I didn't wanna have to do this. I didn't want it to come to this, but based on the number of complaints and what I saw first hand over the weekend...we have to do this,'' Picente said.

Updating active and new coronavirus cases on Tuesday at his daily briefing, Picente also announced another death of a county resident from COVID-19, the 16th to date, along with another ten positive lab confirmed cases, bringing the county's total to date to 388.

New public exposure incidents

  • Topps Friendly Markets on Erie Blvd in Rome  - April 19 - an infected shopper was inside between 9:15 - 10:00p.m.
  • Citgo Gas Station, Oneida St Washington Mills - an infecte employee worked on April 16, 17 and 20. Ellis said the employee was only exposed to the public between noon - 1:00 p.m. on those dates
  • Walmart on Commerical Drive in New Hartford - employee worked a 1:00 -10:00 p.m. shift on April 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22.

In each case, Ellis said the incidents are considered 'low risk' as each of the infected perons was wearing a mask. But, people who were at the above locations at those times and dates are urged to self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks from the date of the exposure.

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