Rochester Rundown: Week of April 30, 2021

Rochester Rundown

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Catch up on the last week in local news, in just a few minutes!

Rochester Rundown, a new digital exclusive brought to you by News 8 WROC, recaps the past week’s top stories with everything you need to know, or might have missed.

Walk-in vaccines at state & Monroe County sites for all New Yorkers 16+

The governor announced all state-run vaccination sites will allow walk-in shots beginning Thursday for all New Yorkers 16 and older.

The governor added the state is allowing all local health departments to allow walk-in appointments as well — a measure Monroe County instituted last week.

University of Rochester requiring COVID-19 vaccination for students

The University of Rochester is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all undergraduate and graduate students who plan to enroll and be on campus for the next school year.

University leaders made the move to limit outbreaks on campus and so they can resume in-person activities. 

CDC says fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear a mask outside

U.S. health officials Tuesday said fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers, and those who are unvaccinated can go without a face covering outside in some cases, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the updated guidance Tuesday in another step on the road back to normal from the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 570,000 people in U.S. For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.

2021 Park Avenue Summer Art Festival canceled due to COVID-19

COVID-19 strikes again.

Organizers with the Park Ave. Summer Art Fest announced Tuesday this year’s event is canceled. In a statement organizers said:

“After reviewing the New York State Guidelines and consulting with the City of Rochester and Monroe County Health Department, the Park Avenue Revitalization Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Park Avenue Summer Art Festival until August 6 and 7, 2022. We are grateful for the community support, as we shift our focus from the Art Festival to assisting the small business impact on Park Avenue from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to look at ways we can celebrate Park Avenue and all it has to offer safely in 2021.”

The festival is typically held in early August, but was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

City officials said Tuesday it’s the lack of guidance from the state that led to this tough decision. 

No more food requirement for alcohol service in New York, lawmakers repeal Gov. Cuomo’s order

Lawmakers in the New York State Legislature voted Wednesday to repeal Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency order requiring people to order food with alcohol purchases at restaurants.

This repeal takes effect immediately.

The executive order, put in place by Gov. Cuomo last July, mandated that patrons order “substantive” food to be able to receive alcohol at bars and restaurants throughout the state.

The resolution to repeal passed unanimously in the State Senate with a vote of 61-0 and then was passed in the Assembly Wednesday afternoon.

COVID-19 curfew lifted for New York bars, restaurants, catered events in May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the COVID-19 curfew for bars and restaurants will be lifted for outdoor dining areas on May 17, and indoor establishments beginning May 31.

The curfew for bars and restaurants has been in effect across New York state since November 11, 2020. It was initially set for 10 p.m. and then was later extended to 11 p.m. in February, and midnight last month.

The governor also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31. 

Rochester police chief announces new mandatory officer training program

Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan held a press conference Wednesday to announce a new mandatory officer training program for Rochester Police Department officers.

The deputy chief added that the training program will include seminars on working with youth, and recognizing excited delirium and how to respond to those situations.

The chief said the new training program will be named the Robert E. Craig Institute for Ethical Leadership, named after an upstanding retired Rochester police officer.

Monroe County Legislature postpones vote on dirt bike, ATV legislation

The Monroe County Legislature postponed a vote Tuesday evening on a measure to curb the use of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets.

As scheduled, the bill was introduced, tabled and a public hearing was approved by legislators for May 11.

The legislation, titled “Operation of Off-Road Vehicles on Public Highways in Monroe County,” comes weeks after multiple fatal crashes involving dirt bikes in the City of Rochester. If adopted, the law would:

  • Prohibit the use of uninsured off-road vehicles on any public roadway in Monroe County
  • Require ATV drivers and passengers to wear helmets
  • Implement impoundment redemption fees: a $500 fine for a first-time offense, and a $2,000 fine if the vehicle has been impounded multiple times.

The bill says officers would be able to immediately impound off-road vehicles found in violation.

Webster schools superintendent retires, days after lawsuit filed by former district employee

In a letter sent to teachers Thursday morning, Webster Central School District Superintendent Dr. Carmen Gumina announced he is retiring.

“Just a few days ago, I notified our board of my intent to retire as of tomorrow. It has become more certain to me over the last few weeks that this is the best decision for me, my family, and the district,” Gumina wrote.

His announcement comes two weeks after a former district employee filed a lawsuit against the school.

Kali Watkins, the former Webster teacher and coach, was found not guilty after prosecutors claimed he raped a 14-year-old student in a locker room at Webster Schroeder High School.

The lawsuit filed by Watkins claims that Gumina influenced the investigation into Watkins because the two had a relationship with the same woman — a teacher hired by Gumina.

New York state will lose one seat in Congress as a result of new census count

Census data released Monday means that New York will lose one seat in Congress as a result of national population shifts.

The state’s delegation will shrink from 27 to 26.

It is one of seven states losing a member of congress as a result of the 2020 census.

The state stands to lose out on more than political clout:

The census also determines the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding each year.

How mapmakers choose to draw the lines cannot be determined until the final census data is released this Fall, officials say.

New York state has been consistently losing Congressional representatives since the 1940s when the state had 45 members in the House of Representatives.

That’s it for this week, we’ll see you next time on Rochester Rundown.

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