It’s mid-February, 2022 and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the relaxing of the state’s face masking mandates. She had re-imposed said mandates in December, as cold and flu season started up, and claimed her measures would help contain covid infections. Unlike the prior two years, for this round of restrictions, many county governments openly rebelled and publicly stated that they would not enforce Hochul’s orders.
On the other hand, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz strongly supports Hochul’s assumed authority. Most city of Buffalo residents appreciated Poloncarz’s tough-guy stance, but several of the smaller towns within the county issued statements condemning their county-level overlords.
All this is happening as most other places in the USA have dropped their covid-era restrictions.
This background information is for the benefit of the people outside of my area who may not know what’s happening here.
Ever since the start of the virus panic 21 months ago, various rulers of New York State have imposed some of the toughest restrictions in the country. Now, after we had an an almost normal summer and fall, the county executive of Erie County (where the city of Buffalo is) issued a new edict mandating that everyone wear face masks in all public businesses. He further threatened his subjects with business closures and other punishments if the virus doesn’t stop doing virus things, like spread during cold and flu season.
On December 19, Western New York residents gathered in the cold outside of Buffalo City Hall to demonstrate in favor of reopening businesses and easing Covid-related restrictions.
This attracted a group of counter-protesters who were worried that easing restrictions would lead to a rise in Covid deaths.
The two groups engaged in a scuffle before the rally started, and Buffalo Police officers kept the two groups separated for the rest of the event.
A handful of local politicians spoke, as did local business owner Robbie Dinero, who has been fined $10,000 for flouting Covid rules. He is fighting the fines in court and encourages other business owners to join him in civil disobedience.
Perhaps the hardest part of 2020 has been the forced isolation that government officials have imposed on us. This isolation is even worse for old people in retirement homes
On Sunday December 13 a group called “Save Our Seniors,” alternately, “Serenade Our Seniors,” sang Christmas carols outside of the Absolut Care nursing home in East Aurora, NY. They wanted to alleviate some of the isolation felt by oldsters who have been confined away from their families in the nursing home for the past several months.
Although Christmas Caroling and Save Our Seniors are apolitical, many of the people in attendance engage in local conservative activism.