Sunrise Smart Start: Wednesday, December 15

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.


Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said Tuesday that New York’s indoor masking mandate for public places will apply for Monroe County.

The new mandate went into effect Monday and requires people to wear masks at any indoor business or venue, unless that establishment requires proof of vaccination for entry.

“We have got to get these numbers down,” Bello said. “I issued a state of emergency a couple weeks ago, and the governor’s announcement of the new requirements that went into effect this week are absolutely in line with what we have ben asking residents in our community to do.”

Gov. Hochul announced last week that due to rising COVID-19 rates statewide, masks would be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

“This is exactly what we did last year,” Bello said. “This is not new to us, and unfortunately, we’ve been here before.”

 Police made an arrest Tuesday in Rochester’s 80th homicide of the year.

Sunday. Evans was taken to URMC in a private vehicle. He did not survive.

Police say Derrick Gunter, 21, was identified as the shooting suspect and arrested Tuesday evening. Gunter was charged with Murder and Criminal Possession of a Weapon.

His arraignment is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The mandate will remain in effect until January 15, 2022, at which point the state will reevaluate based on current conditions.

“The objective is to protect the health of New Yorkers and protect the economy,” Gov. Hochul said. “It is a short term effort. Given that we are in a different place now, we can can deal with it, this has a deadline on it.”

According to the governor, cases per 100,000 people are up 58% statewide since Thanksgiving. She added that hospitalizations per 100,000 were up 70% since Thanksgiving.  She said while case rates and hospitalizations have soared since Thanksgiving, the amount of New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated only increased by 2% in the same time frame.

“Even though we have had 31 million shots in arms of New Yorkers, we still have 30% of New Yorkers who are not vaccinated,” Gov. Hochul said. “This is a crisis of the unvaccinated. This was preventable. If I sound a little frustrated, perhaps I am. This did not have to be the case. The vaccine was introduced a year ago. If we had 100% vaccinated, we would not be here.”

Both Livingston County and Ontario County announced Monday they will not adhering to the governor’s new mask mandate. Other counties, like Erie in Western New York, implemented their own mask mandate before the state intervened.

Under the initial proposal presented by former Mayor Lovely Warren as her final act in office, 175 families in the City of Rochester who live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level would receive $500 per month for one year. 

“I will say there is a lot of work internally that the incoming mayor will have to make sure that this is implemented with fidelity,” said Mayor-elect Malik Evans, who is on the council. 

City council approved a measure to pay for the proposal with American Rescue Plan Act funds. The pilot program would cost an estimated $2.2 million.

Evans said the Commission, made up of elected officials, community members, and more, will assess everything to make Rochester prepared for when retail licenses are available.

As part of New York state’s legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, municipalities statewide have a December 31 deadline to decide of they will opt in or out for sales in their locality, as well as allowing potential consumption lounges.

“It is very important that Rochester is prepared,” Evans said. “Like Wayne Gretzky said, we’re going to where the puck is going to go, and the puck is in the cannabis market.”

 He said the state is aiming for spring 2022 when it will start issuing retail licenses.

“What we do with tax revenue from the marijuana sales — this is also something the Commission will be looking at,” Evans said. “We are a long way off from sending out licenses. This is a blank slate. We are building, we haven’t decided all of this yet. All of those things is what we’re going to have conversations about.”

Marijuana sales could bring the state, reeling from the monetary impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, about $350 million annually.

Wednesday will be mild in temperature throughout the afternoon but pick up all the way to 50s by the evening. Thursday may break the record for hottest day recorded on that specific day with 62+ degrees.

The Weekend: Rain and wintery mix will take over Rochester Saturday with temperatures hanging in the high 30s. Sunday will be brighter with higher temps and a partial covering from clouds in the afternoon.

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