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Warren considers ‘shelter in place’ order, food options for residents

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren address the how the city government is adapting to the coronavirus.
James Brown
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren address the how the city government is adapting to the coronavirus.

The city of Rochester is preparing for a possible “shelter in place” order that would make staying at home mandatory with some conditions. 

This type of order is under consideration by local leaders across the country as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that all executive orders relating to the outbreak break go through the Department of Health first.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she’s discussed what that would look like in Rochester with Foodlink, Monroe County and the Rochester City School District. A top concern is figuring how people can stay in their homes and have access to food. 

“We are prepared to shift to a different model of food distribution should that come down,” said Warren. “We are not there yet and so we are continuing to operate under the plans we have right now.”

The city will continue to offer food for people under 18 at city recreation centers and select high schools

Danielle Lyman Torres, the commissioner of recreation and youth services, said the demand at these facilities is growing by the day. She said hundreds of brown-bag meals are being served at each location.

Foodlink CEO and President Julia Tedesco said the city is working with Foodlink to provide nonperishable food for adults in the coming days. She also said that they plan to serve adults in Irondequoit on Friday. 

Foodlink is using social distancing practices as they pack meals, which Tedesco says “slows things down.” She said that precaution and others are necessary, though.

“We’re watching the health of our workers very closely,” said Tedesco. “Foodlink is in the process of moving some of our food supply offsite at another location in the event that we had to shut down our own warehouse.”

Tedesco said Foodlink is also working to set up a separate food-packing operation at the convention center to keep up with the demand while giving workers additional room to operate. 

Warren addressed other issues Wednesday, including how city police are operating.

“We have changed the way we provide services operationally and give our officers what they need in order to continue to serve the community,” said Warren.

That means staggered roll calls for officers in order to adhere to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s social distancing policies that limit the amount of government workers on the job at any one time. 

She also said officers will look different the next time residents see them.

“My understanding from the call today is all officers will be fitted for the N95,” said Warren, referring to a type of respirator mask. 

N95s are reusable and commonly used when painting or in manufacturing settings, and Warren said there's enough for all officers. She said she hopes the masks allow police to do their job while protecting them and residents from the coronavirus.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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