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Wendel Eyes On-Site Staff Cut To Prevent Virus Spread

County Executive PJ Wendel says Chautauqua County officials are working on a plan to reduce on-site staff by 50% in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19).

The county’s actions are a result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 16 Executive Order to local governments to reduce their overall on-site staff by 50% and to allow nonessential employees to work from home.

“I am working with department heads on our plan to reduce Chautauqua County Government’s onsite-staff by 50% in order to meet the Governor’s order,” Wendel said. “We are currently evaluating our services and seeing where we can have employees work remotely from home and what offices may be closed or have limited services and staffing.”

Wendel said the reduction in staffing will not impact essential COVID-19 response personnel or public safety personnel.

“We anticipate having a plan in place by the end of the day on March 18,” Wendel said. “Once the plan is finalized, we will provide the public with more details on how this staff reduction will impact county government services and office availability.”

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services also provided its March 17 update on on the state of COVID-19 in the county.

Restaurants and bars are closed for on premise service and moved to take-out and delivery services only as of 8 p.m. March 16. Establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. Movie theaters, gyms and casinos are also closed.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and it is inevitable that there will be cases of COVID-19 in our community,” Wendel said. “We are preparing for this reality and how it will affect our County.”

Earlier Tuesday, Christine Schuyler, county Health and Human Services commissioner, sent out a public service announcement urging County residents to make every effort to protect themselves and our healthcare workers.

“If you don’t need to go out, please stay home,” said Schuyler. “If you have respiratory symptoms and fever stay home. If your symptoms are severe call your healthcare provider. DO NOT go to the ER or Urgent Care. DO NOT call 911 or go to the Emergency Room unless you are experiencing a life threatening emergency.”

The best ways you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to:

¯ Wash your hands often with soap and water

¯ Cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and throw it away

¯ Practice social distancing if you must go out

There are three people in precautionary quarantine, and no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by lab testing inside Chautauqua County.

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