By: Joe Kuhn
County Executive Ed Day has promised stricter enforcement of new state mandates intended to prevent the spread of COVID 19. On Tuesday night the Executive spoke with Governor Cuomo over the phone and concurred that “a true lack of enforcement and support of the governor’s orders” is occurring in both the Town of Ramapo and Village of Spring Valley. “(They) have outright refused to step up and protect their residents and the residents of our county” declared Day, while affirming that he and the county government “have been and continue to be fully in support of the Governor’s New York State Police Enforcement Task Force.”
On Wednesday, four staff members from the Rockland County Department of Health partnered with NYS personnel to undertake patrol and enforcement actions within the Red and Yellow Cluster Zones. Day further announced that his office has identified ten additional county personnel to join those efforts in the coming days. “We are committed to the mission of protecting the people of Rockland but increasing our staffing contribution to fill the gaps left by the Town of Ramapo and Village of Spring Valley that flat out refuse to enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders is not our preferred course of action. Each staff member we assign from within County Government will have a direct impact on the services we provide for all of our residents in each and every town” said Day.
The Governor announced later that same day that New York State will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce the new public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will be sending letters warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools. The letter will be sent to New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley. Governor Cuomo also announced that DOH will send an additional letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with state requirements on closure and testing.
Executive Day expressed support of the governor’s decision, stating “I welcome the notification being made to every level of government and each school within these clusters that enforcement must take place and that there will be consequences if it does not. Additionally, I thank the Governor’s staff for confirming that he and they are not concerned with the actions taken and support provided by Rockland County Government. It is also clearly understood that County Government does not have the ability to order these other municipalities or their police departments to enforce the Governor’s orders. It is only by all of us working together and ensuring the Governor’s Orders and restrictions are followed that we can once again bring this pandemic to a halt locally.”