Face masks aren't an option. They will now be mandatory in one New York city.

An ordinance in Oneonta, passed unanimously by the common council, requires masks at all times in any outdoor public space in the city's downtown. Masks will also be required in retail and businesses as well as in restaurants and bars when not seated and eating.

Throughout the rest of the city, masks will be required in outdoor public spaces whenever a minimum of 6 feet distancing cannot be assured.

Oneonta is starting to see a slight increase in COVID-19 cases within the past few weeks. "It's not cause for alarm but you should pay attention to it," said Mayor Gary Herzig. "Interestingly enough, almost all of those cases resulted from indoor get togethers or parties either at a wedding or at a bar. So let's learn from that."

Mayor Herzig vetoed an earlier mask ordinance because he felt it wasn't strong enough to make a difference. "Masks must be worn at all times by all people when in our downtown business district. We are entering a critical time with a recent uptick in cases of COVID-19. The people of Oneonta have worked too hard to now risk an outbreak during this Fall and Winter."

Anyone not wearing a mask will be fined $1,000. Businesses where customers are seen without a mask will face a $2,000 fine.

The mandatory mask ordinance takes effect immediately.

Photo Credit - City of Oneonta
Photo Credit - City of Oneonta

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