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Mayor Brown renews call to honor social distancing

Speaking Monday afternoon, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown stated that in travels throughout the city, he has pesonally observed people who continue to congregate in violation of the social distancing urged by health experts - and ordered be elected officials - amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor spoke of his observations during a news media conference call, during which he also provided other city-related updates. While he encourages members of the public to continue going out to exercise and recreate, he's renewing the call to do so at safe distances from each other.

"Yes, we have said you can go out for a walk, you can run, you can walk your dog, you can bicycle, you can rollerblade.  But that doesn't mean do that and then hang out," Brown said. "When you get out for some exercise, get your exercise, and then please go back home. We don't want people congregating and spreading coronavirus."

Mayor Brown opened his remarks by offering his thoughts, prayers and wellness wishes to Common Council president Darius Pridgen, who confirmed during the weekend he has tested positive for coronavirus. While he would not discuss any details about the nature of their conversations, Brown stated he had been in communication with Pridgen.

Joining Brown on the conference call were Buffalo Police spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Rinaldo and Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo. The police representative said 10 officers have tested positive for COVID-19 while more were monitoring their respective health conditions.

"We have approximately, I believe, 23 that are still self quarantining. A few of those officers have returned to work, " Rinaldo said. "Overall, the department's guidelines have remained the same for the last couple of weeks in terms of handling low priority calls, having people come outside of their homes to speak to officers, utilizing phones to take some basic reports, things of that nature."

Officials did not say whether any Buffalo firefighters had tested for coronavirus but Commissioner Renaldo said "people, place and procedure" efforts were underway to ensure safety.

"Our people will make sure that they have the correct requisite amount of PPE (personal protective equipment): gloves, masks, goggles, gowns, suits, sanitizer," he said. "We have protocols established with a lot of help from our medical director, and continuous updates, basically, on a daily and weekly basis. As far as places go, we keep our firehouses and our apparatus clean on a regular basis."

Mayor Brown noted that a planned e-waste collection scheduled for the coming Saturday has been canceled. Alternate street parking, he added, is in effect. He said in order for emergency vehicles to get through, especially on more narrow streets, it's important for the public to honor the alternate parking rules.

He also reminded the public that the Broadway Market's year-round vendors remain open. Lastly, he said while many businesses have had to close as the result of the pandemic, some essential businesses are hiring. He forwarded contact information for those seeking a job (see image slideshow above).

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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