Sunrise Smart Start: Monday, November 22

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Monday 22, 2021.


‘Walked out with my head held high’: Religious exemptions end for health care vaccine mandate

Once the clock strikes midnight Monday morning, health care workers will no longer be able to cite a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement, with a week leading up to the deadline. All health care workers with this exemption must get their first dose by Monday morning, or risk losing their jobs.

You may be wondering, what changed since the Utica judge ruled it unconstitutional?

Steve Modica, employment lawyer with Modica Law, says there has yet to be a full hearing on the lawfulness of religious exemptions. The back-and-forth between courts is over immediate relief until a full hearing.

“The Utica judge said, ‘while we await a full hearing on the merits, we are not going to allow the state to refuse to allow the religious exemptions,’” Modica said.

That was in October. Fast forward a few weeks: another federal judge in New York overrules the hearing.

“And so that decision went to an appeals court called United States Appeals Court of the Second Circuit, and they ruled that until there could be a full discussion on the merits, they would allow the state to continue to prohibit religious exemptions,” Modica said.

Now, health care workers who have filed these exemptions will have to choose to get the first dose by Monday or risk losing their job.


At least 5 dead, 40 injured after SUV speeds into Christmas parade

A joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms turned deadly in an instant, as an SUV sped through barricades and into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40 others.

One video showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was struck Sunday. A father talked of going “from one crumpled body to the other” in search of his daughter. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were among those hit.

The city of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it could confirm at least five died and more than 40 were injured, while noting that it was still collecting information. The city’s statement also noted that many people took themselves to hospitals. The city did not release any additional information about those who died.

A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said, but he gave no details about the person or any possible motive. The investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“What took place in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice,” Attorney General Josh Kaul, the state’s top law enforcement officer, tweeted.


COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in New York

New York is continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in November as the holiday season approaches, according to the latest state data released Saturday.

Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York — up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through Nov. 11.

That’s the highest seven-day average since mid-April.

Meanwhile, the latest federal data show more then two-thirds of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.

“There is one simple solution to ensure New Yorkers can enjoy a safe holiday season — get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster shot if you have,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Saturday statement.

The vast majority of the state’s 62 counties are seeing sharp upticks in new COVID-19 positives: from a 32% increase in cases over the seven days through Thursday on Long Island, to a 37% increase in Niagara County in western New York.

And hospitals in New York reported 2,249 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday, up 20% from the previous Friday.

Hospitalization rates are flat in some communities including Manhattan and Albany.

But much of the state, from Saratoga to Erie County, is also seeing sharp increases in hospitalizations. Saratoga, for example, is up to 35 patients with confirmed COVID-19, nearly triple from 12 patients as of Friday Nov. 12.

In Central New York, Onondaga County is up to 128 patients — a 33% increase.

Monroe County, in the Finger Lakes, is up to 244 patients, up 30%.


Chick-fil-A in Irondequoit to officially open December 2nd

Irondequoit’s very own Chick-fil-A is slotted to open its doors for business on Thursday, December 2. The restaurant is located on 1115 East Ridge Road in Rochester.

Talks over the fast-food chain’s landing in Irondequoit began in August last year. Shortly after a meeting held by the Irondequoit Planning Board, approval came to have construction begin.

Redevelopments to an existing parcel of land at 1115 East Ridge Road, next to the Home Depot, were made to have the restaurant fit into the town’s food and drink district.

Irondequoit’s Chick-fil-A will feature outdoor seating and a drive-thru along with a 55 parking space lot.

Once Chick-fil-A in Irondequoit opens in December, the business will have a total of three locations across the Rochester area. The first one opened in Greece in 2018, followed by Henrietta in 2020.


TAKE 5 winner worth $35,487 sold in Fairport

Check your tickets!

New York Lottery officials announced Monday that a top-prize winning TAKE 5 ticket was sold at the Wegmans store on Pittsford-Palmyra Road in Fairport.

The ticket is was sold for the November 21 drawing and is worth $35,487.50.


Bottom falls out for Bills in bumbling 41-15 loss to Colts

It wasn’t one thing that went wrong for the Buffalo Bills in a 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

It was everything.

Buffalo turned the ball over four times, allowed Jonathan Taylor to score a franchise-record five times, in dropping to 6-4 and out of the AFC East Division lead.

The Bills have lost three of five and face a short week in preparing to play at New Orleans on Thursday night.


Weather forecast: Winter Weather Advisories in effect tonight

The cold air has arrived. Snow showers will be mostly scattered in nature with some peaks of sun possible during the late morning and afternoon. Snow amounts look relatively minor across the region as snow flurries continue before more persistent lake effect snow bands set up Monday night into Tuesday. It looks likely Rochester could finally see its first accumulating snow of the season.

The oscillating nature of these bands make it difficult to pin-point exact snow totals at this time, but this set up continues to advertise the likelihood of accumulating snow on the order of a few inches or more where the most persistent bands linger.

The best chances for this will be where the lake bands set up shop with places like Rochester, Wayne county and southern Wyoming counties on our radar to watch through Tuesday morning. Wayne county specifically looks to be a “hot-spot” where the highest totals locally could fall. Stay tuned as we fine tune the details. As temperatures drop below freezing slick spots and reduced visibility will be hazards to watch during the Tuesday morning commute.

The weather from Wednesday into Thanksgiving quiets down with no significant weather expected to slow incoming travel, but a front moving through on Friday of next week could mean some wet roads as rain transitions to snow showers for any departing travelers and Black Friday shoppers. We’ll have to get closer to iron out those details as they come.

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