WXXI AM News

Lawsuit filed against Monroe County, NYS, over COVID-19 restrictions

Oct 29, 2020

A lawsuit has been filed against state and local officials over restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit was filed by Carl Schwartz Jr., an attorney based in Penn Yan, on behalf of more than a dozen people in Monroe County including business owners, landlords, teachers, parents and people in the performing arts.

It claims that emergency measures put in place to deal with the pandemic exceed guidelines suggested by the state. A lawsuit was filed earlier against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state health commissioner, but now Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza are included.

Even with COVID-19 positive cases rising nationally and locally, Schwartz says there are better techniques now for treating people who have it.

“We know a lot more about COVID-19 today than we did back in March; we know better how to treat it  and we know how to protect those who are vulnerable to it,” Schwartz said.

During a weekly briefing with reporters on Thursday, Bello said he hasn’t seen the suit yet, but thinks the state and the county are taking the right steps.

“There are people dying across the state, our county and the country today, and we have a responsibility to protect our residents and make sure that we’re following the science and what it tells us, so I think we’re doing the right things,” Bello said.

Schwartz said the lawsuit does not seek money. Instead, it seeks to have some of the restrictive measures related to the coronavirus rolled back.

"It is time to get on with the business of doing business and being in school and living life without all these measures at the same levels or worse than they were back when COVID-19 was a real threat," Schwartz said.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, said, “We are moving heaven and earth to contain this virus and we know some people are unhappy, but New York continues to have one of the lowest infection rates in the nation, and better to be unhappy than sick or worse.”