Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon advises calling 911 to report people who aren’t social distancing

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For weeks, you have been hearing the Onondaga County Executive’s advice on social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but people continue to disobey the county executive’s orders, and further action will now be taken against those who do not comply with social distancing rules.

At his daily press conference on Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon advised that people call 911 if they see people not following social distancing rules.

“We have implemented systems now, where our 911 dispatchers will take calls related to social distancing, and we have worked with our police departments throughout our towns and villages, and our police departments will now respond to these calls,” McMahon said.

The county executive said his office received phone calls about people hanging out in large groups at the park, and McMahon said there are systems in place for 911 to address these concerns.

The photo below of the Raddison Greens Golf Course parking lot was shared to NewsChannel 9 by the Onondaga County Executive’s Office.

People gather for a tailgate at the Raddison Greens Golf Course parking lot

Raddison Greens Golf Course was not open at the time these photos were taken, and it’s still closed for the season. The operators say they are now taking measures to ensure this does not happen again.

McMahon also said that police will most likely issue warnings at first, but fines will be imposed on people who continue to disobey the rules.

Social distancing includes staying at least six feet away from one another at all times, and not hosting or participating in any unnecessary social gatherings.

According to McMahon, social distancing is one of the best practices to try and flatten the curve. His decision to get police departments involved comes after 30 new cases were reported at Thursday’s press conference. 

The county executive expressed his disappointment in having to take extreme action in order to ensure people follow the rules.

My deputy county executive, who is helping lead the fight in the pandemic, has to go talk with 911 about this problem, sit down and have hours about how this works, go train 911 operators, then go to the police officers who have other things to do… After eight or nine hours of planning, and if you add that up these are all your tax dollars, how many people and how much they make cost real money because some people need to get together when they shouldn’t be getting together to have a keg party. These are the things we don’t have real-time answers for because it’s inconceivable, we never thought we would have to be doing these things.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon

At the press conference, McMahon also said the county will be cracking down on parks as well, to limit the number of people gathering in one place. The county executive said that parks in the county will be shut down once the parking lot reaches one-third capacity.

McMahon said he will have park rangers at these parks to enforce the rule.

To view coronavirus numbers across Central New York click here.


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