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Clinton County to start fining businesses and people not social distancing

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 4:17 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:30 AM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Clinton County, New York, health officials Thursday issued a plea for compliance to COVID safety guidelines.

Northern New York has seen low levels of infection throughout the pandemic, but like most other places, cases are on the rise. Clinton County leaders say they will be doing random, widespread spot checks for compliance at businesses during the holiday season. They’ll be making sure businesses are following the rules for capacity, distancing, and mask-wearing.

Businesses can be fined up to $10,000. People who aren’t wearing a mask or social distancing can be fined up to $1,000. And bars and beauty salons can lose their licenses.

Health officials and community organizations are teaming up on a social media campaign to urge people to wear masks, keep gatherings small on Thanksgiving, and follow other safety protocols.

“We appear to be more complacent and not following the rules that we did when the numbers were low. We are following the protocols less, even though we have more positives in our community,” said Mark Henry, the Clinton County Legislature Chair.

County officials say they remain committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning, though some individual school districts in the North Country are choosing to move to remote learning. As in Vermont, health officials say most of the recent case growth is not tied to schools but to social activities.

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