Sunday, November 27, 2022

Todd Kusnierz: ‘Masks not the answer; we won’t enforce’

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Moreau Town Supervisor Todd Kusnierz, who chairs the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, released a statement on Monday, balks at the new State vaccinate-mask mandate.

“Saratoga County’s Public Health Department and Law Enforcement will not enforce New York State’s misguided and unrealistic mask mandate, which passes the buck to counties to enforce what the Governor herself said just over a week ago is ‘almost impossible’ to enforce,” he said in a statement Monday.

Within minutes, Mr. Kusnierz tells The Chronicle, “I was inundated with emails from around the county, thanking me for taking a stand,” with “just two” that were critical.

Mr. Kusnierz added in his statement, “Importantly, under no circumstances will the County enforce the harmful provision that bars school children from taking mask breaks.

He told The Chronicle, “Masking is one of the tools that can assist in the pandemic. The vaccines make the greatest difference in protecting individuals from the pandemic.”

But he said, “It’s a misguided and unrealistic mandate…Masks aren’t going to get you there.”

“Businesses have been following the rules and recommendations, right up to the shutdowns and to keep their patrons and residents safe. And here we are, within 10 days of Christmas, and the governor puts a mandate on businesses already facing labor shortages and supply chain issues. There’s a disconnect between the government and the people.”

He says Saratoga “leads” in the region and the state for vaccination statistics in several categories, including low numbers of breakthrough cases.

More of the written statement:

“Saratoga County will not reallocate valuable, limited public health resources from providing much needed vaccines and boosters to the community. Nor will we reallocate important public safety resources that continue to keep Saratoga County one of the safest counties in the State.

“This mandate attempts to divert these county employees and resources from their intended missions, while pitting our community members against each other by encouraging people and businesses to report perceived mask violations to law enforcement and the local health department.

“Our public health team is a dedicated group of healthcare professionals whose job is to educate the public on how they can best protect themselves from communicable diseases and viruses, such as COVID-19. Local Health Departments are not policing agencies.

“The best way to protect the health and safety of Saratoga County residents, families, schools and businesses is to continue to focus public health resources on rapidly providing booster vaccinations to the public, which our Public Health team continues to do.

“Asking already thin-stretched local health departments to enforce mask or vaccination mandates only detracts from this critical endeavor.

“Governor Hochul would know this, had she consulted with county leaders, but, just as her predecessor, she did not.

“Anyone with questions or complaints regarding the New York State mask mandate should call the Governor’s Office at 518-474-8390.”

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