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Protest against PAUSE order restrictions set for noon

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WBFO News File
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A rolling protest against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s business restrictions is set for noon Monday in Niagara Square.

Should Buffalo and the rest of Western New York be under the same coronavirus related restrictions as the outbreak epicenter of New York City? That's the qestion local Tea Party activist Rus Thompson wants elected officials to address.

“We say we can start opening now. We can allow people to go back to work in different areas,” said Thompson. “And by shutting down the whole entire economy, small business are going out of business, they’re not going to be able to survive.”T

Thompson says he believes the statewide PAUSE order unfairly affects upstate counties.

“Every time [Cuomo] speaks, he’s basically aimed his comments at New York City. But yet it affects the whole entire state,” Thompson said. “Once you get out of New York City, you've got all these counties that people live far apart, you've got cities, but no one is on top of each other like they are in New York City.”

Erie County had 2,192 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, compared to the more than 134,000 COVID positive cases in the much more populous New York City and the more than 24,000 in Westchester County. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he has no intentions of breaking from state directives.

“I don’t see the City of Buffalo going its own way and begin to open things up,” Brown said. “I think we’re going to work very closely with the state and county governments.  But I don’t see the city of Buffalo going its own way at all. It’s going to be critically important that we do everything that is required to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community”

Thompson said Western New York can’t wait until the May 15 State PAUSE order ends.

“People need to get out and they need to go back to work,” he said. “We can do this in a safe way. We can’t keep everything shut down until May 15. It’s just not going to happen.”

Cuomo, in a weekend press briefing, touched on what he called, people’s "eagerness."

“I don’t want to have gone all through this and then just say we’re reopening,” Cuomo said. “No, no, no, we have to open for a better future than we have ever had, and we have to learn from this.”

Thompson’s protest in Niagara Square will be a driving one and he stressed to participants not to get out of their cars and congregate in large masses or to block traffic.