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COVID-19: Westchester Town Could Be First In State To Mandate Mask Wearing

After a new hotspot of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases cropped up following a graduation ceremony, a in Northern Westchester town is considering a new law requiring face masks in public.
After a new hotspot of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases cropped up following a graduation ceremony, a in Northern Westchester town is considering a new law requiring face masks in public. Photo Credit: File photo

After a new hotspot of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases cropped up following a graduation ceremony, a in Northern Westchester town is considering a new law requiring face masks in public.

In an effort to help curtail the spread of COVID-19, town officials in New Castle are mulling a potential new law that would make wearing face masks mandatory on both public and private property for anyone who cannot socially distance from others.

If approved, it is believed that New Castle would be the first municipality in New York to introduce a local law to require mask-wearing.

Those who violate the law could face fines of $250 for a first offense and $500 for any subsequent violation. Children under the age of 2 and residents with medical conditions would not be forced to wear a mask under the proposed law.

A public hearing on the proposed law is set for Tuesday, July 14.

“Our aim is, and continues to be, enforcement with the goal of voluntary compliance,” New Castle Supervisor Ivy Pool said. “We are not looking to issue summonses, write tickets, collect fines, and fees to generate revenue.

“What we want is for our residents to do the right thing – wear your masks, maintain six-feet of social distance, limit gatherings to 25 or fewer people,” she added. “But as we have now made clear in our official communications this week, if residents flout the rules we will act and there will be consequences.”

Pool said that since the outbreak from the graduation ceremony at Horace Greeley High School in the hamlet of Chappaqua, “the community has been crying out for increased enforcement by the New Castle Police Department.”

“This could have happened anywhere – the County Executive is right about that – but it didn’t happen just anywhere, it happened here in New Castle,” she added. “We are a community of leaders, committed to action, and unwilling to sit on the sidelines. Once again, we are leading the way in creating solutions to difficult problems.”

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