COVID-19 town hall with County Executive Bello, Mayor Warren, Rep. Morelle and Rep. Reed


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Rep. Joe Morelle and Rep. Tom Reed participated in a News 8 COVID-19 town hall Wednesday.

You submitted questions and these local leaders answered as many of them as time could provide. Click the video player about to watch the full video. News 8 will continue to do these town halls as long as the pandemic wages on.

Your COVID-19 questions for County Executive Bello, Mayor Warren, Rep. Morelle and Rep. Reed:

Barb: My question is, phase II has professional jobs, does this include eye doctors, dental offices, chiropractor offices? And if so, what is the wait time between phase I and phase II. 

Rich Codding: Mayor Warren, will you be working with the Faith Leaders and Community organizations leaders (the Urban League and the Iberio league for example) to recommend the best testing and tracing strategies for  City Residents? I see Churches, the Jordan Health Center and Neighborhood Centers as possible testing and monitoring locations.

Kathy Erickson: I am employed half time. I can work my hours however I wish as long as I work 40 hours in a two week pay period. If I am furloughed or if my hours are cut back, what if any NY or Federal unemployment compensation might I be eligible for? I am certain I would not be eligible for the CARES Act at an extra $600/week but might I be eligible for half of that? 

Maureen Grisdale: What phase will banquet halls fall under?  My daughter’s wedding is scheduled for July 11 at a local Barn facility.  We are waiting anxiously to know if this will be able to go on – at any level (less than 50 people or not at all) so that we can move forward with plans (original or alternate).

Kathy Stoll: Gov. Cuomo hasn’t included churches in the phases for reopening; do you know when they might be able to reopen?

Rachel: In Phase II of Governor Cuomo’s list of openings he lists Professional Services. What businesses fall under this? Under which phase will the following be opening:

  • Gyms
  • Houses of worship
  • Libraries Hair
  • nail salons

If they are wearing a mask and following social distancing, during which phase will senior citizens be able to leave their homes to obtain essential items?

Cathy: 1. Has there been any research to show if having had pneumonia vaccine offers any protection especially for the older population? 2. Any stats on percentage of those hospitalized (or deaths) who were smokers/vapers?

Brian: Why is New York state sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes, exposing the very population most at-risk for the disease to it? Why is New York state mandating the wearing of face masks when Dr. Fauci has been quoted as saying “There is no reason to be walking around with a mask”? Thank you

Betty: Mr. Bello, When will the Department of Motor Vehicles open up for driver license renewals for those of us that need to upgrade to an Enhanced Driver’s License? Can this be done by scheduling an appointment? Thank you.

Donna: I have noticed an increase in cases in the past couple weeks. Not every day but a few days. Yesterday there was 50 new cases. On April 24th and 25th in 40’s and 50’s.
Is the spike of cases on some days because of more testing, better testing OR people not following the guidelines, getting Cabin Fever? Even if the hospitalizations are down will this play a part in reopening the region?

MH: With talk of starting to re-open safely, will there be a “whistleblower” hotline to call if companies are not keeping their employees safe? Also, if employees of businesses can perform their entire job remotely from home, will companies be directed to keep those people at home?
I see the stories from Smithfield & Tyson, and how workers had to quit because the conditions were not safe and not healthy, but that they were forced to keep coming to work. I know people in the Greater Rochester Area who were being guilted/forced to going in to their offices & shops, even though they could 100% work from home; and it only changed when they were forced closed as non-essential businesses. I am extremely concerned for people being put in danger who don’t need to be.

Kathy: Question for Joe Morelle do you see a second stimulus check coming for the American people and if so when?

Judi Tellier: What is Monroe County doing to make sure we meet deadline to reopen phase 1 May 15th? What are testing hours at MCC & can an adult parent aged 70 get tested if their adult offspring that lives with them is an essential worker 

Pam: If we go back to work for 1, or maybe 2 days, and then collect unemployment for the other 2 days, etc, are we entitled to still get be extra .600.00 per week that we are getting now because of the pandemic?

Brian: Congressman Morelle, Here is my question: Are there any specific ways that you or someone in your office can help me and others who are waiting for their UI/PUA claims to be processed? Is there some way to get through this logjam to speak with someone at the NYS Labor Dept and provide whatever information is needed in order to complete the UI claim and get the PUA? Is there some way to be put on a callback list like is done by airlines or other companies where you are given the option to press “1” to get a callback within a specific period of time?

Steve Clements: Mr. Duffy was appointed to determine the specifics on re-opening our region. Why then did Gov. Cuomo close schools for the rest of the year? Isn’t that determination for Mr. Duffy to decide for Our region?

Cathy Pospula: Governor Cuomo outlined the specific criteria each region must meet before they can begin to reopen.  Can you provide an overview of where our region stands in this process by category?

David Youngman: I can’t renew my drivers license  because I want to upgrade to Enhanced which must be done in person at the county auto license bureau AKA the “DMV”.  If I renew as standard license what provision will you make to upgrade in the future.  Waiting 8 years is unacceptable!

Diane: Reopening into Phase I, can the NYS DMV offices open to process new purchases, etc. that cannot currently be done online? People take a number and stand in line anyway; a quick way to generate NY revenue income via sales tax and fees.

Cheryl: I am a restaurant worker and I am wondering what businesses will look like when we begin to open bars and restaurants. How will we be able to stay safe in a bar? You cant really wear a mask if you are going to a place to eat and drink and be social so how will this work? And when do they believe restaurants and bars will be able to open. Thank you

Joyce Bridges: There is a testing site for Coronvirus at Walmart on Hudson Avenue where online registration is required. How are people with no internet get tested especially in the poverty areas?

Max Hoeppner: I am on social security, direct deposit, do not have to file taxes and have yet to receive my first stimulus direct deposit. How many others have this same problem? What is being done to correct this? And when can we expect our deposit? Thank you

Edith Reinhard: Gov. Cuomo’s regulation to the wearing of face masks when Social Distancing can not be practiced indoors or outdoors. What will be the penalty in Rochester and Monroe County for NOT wearing a face mask?

Amanda Dwyer: This question is probably best for the congressmen: what relief – financial and otherwise – is planned for working parents in the coming months? Many working families are stretched thin trying to work and educate their children at home, while some parents are unable to work until their children go back to school. Governor Cuomo’s recently announced reopening plans don’t have schools reopening until The final phase. How can working parents of school age children be expected to return to work and keep their jobs while schools and summer camps remain closed?

Bob DeMallie: I’m a senior that is 72 and love to play golf. I have a disability that precludes me from walking a course. Can an exception be made for us that would allow us to use a cart? We could show our handicap placard as proof.

Joseph Berardi: Many unemployed workers are making more now on unemployment than if they return to work. What are employee/employee rights in industries that are opened with safety measures taken. Can an employee choose not to return? If so under what circumstances? What are employer obligations? Can an employer add a worker to their payroll at the same pay prior to being furloughed if they have a PPP loan even if the worker does not report for work. Will doing so preclude the employee from collecting unemployment?

Sue Stalls: There was much concern about the Easter vigil gathering of 100+ people not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks. Has there been any follow up with the community members in attendance for covid illnesses?

Gary Beckingham: Gov Cuomo has said that people who cant afford to pay their rent dont have to and cannot be evicted.  How is it determined who needs to and who doesnt need to pay rent?  How are landlords going to be reimbursed for lost rent?  How are landlords suppose to pay the taxes and upkeep on the properties without rents being paid?

Lynn Zarpentine: My question is for Joe Morelle. I am one of the people from the University of Rochester who is now being furloughed.  I wondered if I will qualify for the extra payment for unemployment for the entire time that I am out, or until August 31st.  I had heard the extra payments will stop at the end of July.  Can you please let those of us just now being affected know that status. Thank you

Joyce Watkins: Mr. Bello, Mr. Morelle, What is being done to increase our testing capacity so Non-essential workers/ Asymptomatic residents can make an appointment for Covid19 testing.

Courtney Ayers: How can I schedule an appointment for the drive through antibody testing at MCC? I am an essential worker and have direct contact with the public. I have contacted both the NYS Department of Health and Monroe County Public Health and was told by both that “they do not know”.

Anonymous: Why can’t one of our 4 regional hospitals be designated for covid patients?  We would then not fear going to the other hospitals for care and the dollars could be shared approriately among them.

Anonymous: At one time on the news the zip codes where the COVID 19 illnesses were posted and the percentage of illness in the certain zipcodes. Can the same zip codes percentages be shown as to the zip codes of the people who have passed with Covid 19?

Anonymous: For people doing taxes when will the federal building open up?

Anonymous: Understandably Gov. Cuomo has mandated wearing face masks. Walmart has signs stating this, however they are not enforcing it. As an associate at Walmart I am concerned for my health. So my question is how can associates who are directly involved with these people refuse to wait on those without a mask without repercussions.

Anonymous: When should I expect my stimulus check.  I filed my taxes this year and submitted direct deposit info.  I have not received it yet.  Is there a number to contact to check on this?

Anonymous: When will dog groomers open?

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Lilac Festival and Channel 8, A Rochester Tradition. Click for More.

Trending Stories

Covid-19 County by County tracker
Download Our App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss