Masking requirements in Rochester

Devin Martin
Updated: June 30, 2020 01:28 PM
Created: June 29, 2020 10:43 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The mask debate comes after Rochester Mayor Kim Norton issued an amendment to the city's existing emergency declaration on Saturday.

This declaration now requires individuals to wear a face covering while in a city of Rochester facility. 


The vote was upheld by the Rochester city council Monday evening in a 6-1 vote. 

"I think this is a starting point," Michael Wojcik, city council member for 2nd ward said."I don't think it goes far enough." 

RELATED: Norton amends emergency declaration; requires use of face masks at city's facilities

Some city council members believe that now is the time for a change. 

"This is very simply communicating to the public how absolutely fundamental wearing a mask during a pandemic is," Nick Campion, city council member for 3rd ward said. "I think it's far past time that we start doing the simple things we can do now to avoid having to do another closure." 

In terms of enforcement of the amendment, if a person does not wear a mask, citations can be issued by Rochester police. 

"Our efforts will be focused on education and encouragement with enforcement being a last effort," Jim Franklin, Rochester Chief of Police said. "You do give the person a warning and say 'Okay if you're not going to comply, you do need to leave.' There is potential for enforcement."

Not everyone on the council agreed with the amendment. 

"The difficult part of this is that if you want to go to a different retail store and you don't like that policy, you don't go there," Shaun Palmer, city council member for 5th ward said. "If you have to see the city clerk, you have to see the city clerk to do it. But we have an obligation to protect the citizens of Rochester and to protect our employees."

Even with the amendment being upheld, feelings about this issue are strong. 

"I think the city administrator would have been far better at doing this. I think when you use emergency orders like this, it's an extreme measure, it should only be used for extreme items," Palmer said. "This is something the city administrator could have done very easily."

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