Friend Urges Governor to Abandon Oppressive Zoned Lockdown Policy

Stubborn Orange Zone designation in Chemung County has kept businesses closed

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flatts) is calling, yet again, for the governor to abandon the oppressive zoned lockdown policy which has had Chemung County designated as Orange Zone for 12 weeks. The state, in particular the state Department of Health and governor, has provided little guidance, review or reply on the county’s unfortunate predicament.

“The governor constantly warns the public of COVID fatigue and frustration, yet his own actions, which have stubbornly kept Chemung County under house arrest and our businesses shuttered, have only exasperated the problem,” said Friend. “As we have seen elsewhere in the state, with proper precautions and social distancing being followed, there is no reason New York should prevent businesses the opportunity to operate equitably.”

Orange Zones prohibit or limit certain types of business operations in restaurants, gyms and salons. Following contact tracing, the state found that spread of COVID-19 was extremely low in these types of businesses. Friend asserts that there is no evidence to be found as to why the state would continue to keep such a tight grip on businesses and communities such as Chemung County. Even though a Western New York judge has recently struck down the Orange Zone ban on indoor dining, the governor still refuses to yield.

Friend notes that the Southern Tier has largely been able to maintain low COVID-19 infection rates and has had the lowest rate of cases in the past several weeks. However, the county has been unfairly locked into a holding pattern where the governor’s seemingly arbitrary lockdown zone policy has kept businesses closed in a critical time where they could have been attempting to recuperate losses from the first lockdown in the spring of 2020.

The governor and his administration has been so out of touch that when asked by a local reporter about Chemung County’s plight, the governor and his staff were unable to answer and still have not bothered to answer why the county was still being designated as an Orange Zone. The zone policy has been abandoned by the governor as a tactic to reduce the spread of the virus, largely because it did not work. Yet, with the evidence and results in hand, the governor and his team still refuse to release those already held under this highly limiting designation. Friend insists this is time to release Chemung and other counties from this discriminatory policy.