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Monroe County Republicans seek oversight of county-forced business closures

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Gino Fanelli
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CITY
Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone

After a year of many businesses being forced to close due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone is asking for more oversight in some circumstances. 

The Republican’s solution is the “Business Closure Transparency Act.” If the county health department or other county agency forces a business to close, the measure would require that the Legislature is informed within 48 hours of when the business received notice. The measure would also require that the county administration produce and publicize a report justifying why the business was closed.

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, businesses have been ordered to close by county government.

Carbone said there has not been a dispute over a closure in Monroe County that he knows of, but this bill would guarantee access to information if it happens. He said he’s made similar requests about businesses before but didn't get the response he wanted.

“It's very, very difficult to get the information from the administration,” Carbone said. “So now with this law, they’ll have to give it to us, and if it's fair and transparent and justified, we won’t have to do anything about it.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the bill is enacted, the County Legislature would be able to review why the business was closed and would have the right to reverse it.

“This whole law is again for transparency so the Legislature knows what’s going on, so we can pipe in on it,” Carbone said.

Carbone said the measure is based on a similar bill working its way through the Erie County Legislature. If Carbone’s bill makes it out of committee, it likely would be voted on in a couple of months.