SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Mayor Ben Walsh returned to his office at Syracuse City Hall on Thursday, after getting cleared of his 14-day mandatory quarantine by the Onondaga County Health Department.
Walsh put himself into voluntary quarantine, which was later upgraded to mandatory, after sharing a podium with a possibly contagious colleague.
Walsh hosted Binghamton’s Mayor Rich David at Syracuse’s City Hall Commons, just hours before David was sent to the hospital and tested positive for coronavirus.
Walsh says his 14-day quarantine wasn’t a vacation. He executed his duties as mayor from home and relied on his computer for virtual meetings.
First up on his Thursday schedule was a Zoom-based interview with NewsChannel 9’s Bridge Street, followed by a proclamation dedication on the steps of Syracuse City Hall.
Walsh notably left his mask on while speaking at the podium Thursday morning.
Even though Walsh frequently advocates for people to wear masks and follows the rules himself, he had routinely followed the lead of other elected leaders by removing his mask while speaking at podiums more than six feet away from the nearest person.
I was very conscious of the health risk but the quarantine is another factor that I don’t think, not everyone appreciates, including myself. It did it home. It’s personal. I’m very happy I have my health and continue to think about those that are struggling with the disease. This whole thing has been a learning process and all I can do is as I learn, try to make sure I share what I learn with those I serve.Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh
“This building is special,” says the mayor. “It’s special to me personally. It’s special to the city and it never gets older walking through the doors. But today, after being gone for 14 days, it felt a little more special. The only downside was when I walked into my office, my plant was pretty much dead. But I’m going to try and bring it back to life.”
Walsh says his two daughters liked having him home and they all spent their work and school breaks together.