background_fid.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

‘We do not need to shut down': Monroe County's Vax-Boost-Mask campaign aims to keep things open

bello (1).jpg
MAX SCHULTE
/
WXXI News
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello speaks Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, during a news conference announcing the Vax-Boost-Mask campaign to prevent economic shutdowns as county, city, business and medical leaders brace for a projected increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

In an effort to prevent shutdowns, Monroe County officials are calling on businesses to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 with the new “Vax-Boost-Mask" campaign.

The goal is to encourage business owners and customers to prioritize vaccination and mask wearing to keep the economy moving.

“When you see the ‘Keep Monroe Open’ sign in a window, that is a business person who cares about every single person who walks through their door,” said public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

He added that multiple layers of protection are critical at this time and will go a long way toward helping the community get through what will hopefully be a “short-lived surge brought on by the omicron variant.”

The state is currently under a vaccine-or-mask mandate, which requires people wear masks while inside public places unless the business or venue established a vaccine requirement.

County Executive Adam Bello said he is confident that these precautions will prevent the region from having to implement more extreme measures in the long run.

“Let me be clear, we do not need to shut down our schools and businesses to get through this,” Bello said. “What we do need is to be smart, respectful, and considerate of others.”

wegman.jpg
MAX SCHULTE
/
WXXI News
Wegmans CEO Colleen Wegman speaks Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 during a news conference about the importance of getting vaccinated and mask wearing to help keep businesses and schools open as county, city, business and medical leaders brace for a projected increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

Wegmans is among the businesses backing the campaign. CEO Colleen Wegman asked customers for their support.

“We encourage everyone to get the booster shot,” she said. “And we're asking everyone to please wear masks a little while longer, until we can get this virus under control.”

Bob Duffy, the CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said it’s about being responsible and protecting others.

“To my knowledge, nobody has died wearing a mask,” Duffy said. “I don't think anybody's died from the vaccine. But over 800,000 people in this country have died from COVID. So I'm just calling on everybody to please adhere to this.”

Duffy also said business owners should encourage customers to wear masks – but not confront anyone who chooses not to.

Mendoza said the Vax-Boost-Mask campaign will help alleviate an already strained system.

Duffyjpg.jpg
MAX SCHULTE
/
WXXI News
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Robert J. Duffy speaks Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, during a news conference about the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing a mask to help keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Duffy said he personally doesn't like to wear a mask but does so to protect people whose immune systems may be compromised.

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.