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Local Leaders Promote ‘VAX-BOOST-MASK’ Message In “Let’s Keep Monroe Open” Campaign

Staff report

Mayor-Elect Malik Evans
(photo courtesy of

Business, government and healthcare leaders gathered at the Wegmans Conference Center to launch Monroe County’s VAX-BOOST-MASK message on Dec. 20, 2021 as part of on-going local efforts to combat COVID-19 and keep the county open for education, business, work and social life.

“Let’s Keep Monroe Open” calls the community to get vaccinated, boosted and be masked-up in order to keep the economy and commerce moving, entertainment venues going, and our children healthy and in school despite the current surge in COVID infections and hospitalizations.

The New York State mask mandate and current Monroe County state of emergency is in response to high COVID hospitalization and intensive care unit numbers that are forcing the cancellation and delay of many needed non-COVID related surgeries.

Adam J. Bello, Monroe County Executive (photo courtesy: County of Monroe)

“I believe most people are concerned with keeping our kids safe, having stores, restaurants and businesses that we depend on remain open, and on keeping businesses, employees and customers safe and healthy,” said Monroe County Executive Adam J. Bello. “We know how to do that– masking indoors, getting vaccinated and tested are common sense, proven ways to stop the spread of this virus and the coming Omicron variant. These precautions will also help limit the spread of the flu.”

“Let’s Keep Monroe Open” posters distributed to businesses, organizations and employers will show their customers and employees that they provide a protected and safe indoor environment. Community leaders ask that residents and customers support those businesses by following the short-term, common sense guidelines.

Rochester Mayor-Elect Malik Evans says it is important to support and protect city businesses while helping to bring down the COVID infection rate.

“As we think about this upcoming holiday season, we must ensure safety is our number one priority. I am committed to leading by example, which is why my family and I were vaccinated and have received a booster, when eligible,” said Evans. “If we want to keep Monroe County open, it is crucial that we get vaccinated, mask up, and take all proper precautions. I also urge all residents to take advantage of all free testing options available.”

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza said bringing down the COVID hospitalization rate does not mean shutting down businesses, restaurants and stores.

Dr. Michael Mendoza
(photo courtesy:

“Our region has been experiencing an increase in serious illness and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The holiday season and the Omicron variant threaten to make matters worse, posing a particularly significant risk to unvaccinated individuals, older adults, immunocompromised people and other vulnerable members of our community,” Mendoza said. “It is heartening to see Monroe County businesses pull together to prevent harm by taking these steps to keep the virus from spreading from one person to another. Their employees, customers — and everyone those people come into contact with can feel safer because of it.”

Robert J. Duffy, Pres. and CEO — Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce (photo courtesy: GRCC)

Robert J. Duffy, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce says Chamber members are already doing the right thing.

“Each week I speak to and visit dozens of local businesses, and am impressed by their leadership in insisting masks or proof of vaccination for entry. I’m also impressed by the patrons who are taking responsibility to be safe and protect their neighbors”, Duffy said. We thank Governor Kathy Hochul and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello for their leadership, and the greater Rochester business community for their cooperation in this effort. Let’s all continue working to help stop the spread and get our region back on track.”

“We are proud to support ‘Let’s Keep Monroe Open’ on behalf of our business community,” said Colleen Wegman, president and chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets. “We are honored to call Rochester our hometown and want to keep our community and economy healthy for everyone who lives and works here. It’s up to each of us to do our part to help.”

The “Let’s Keep Monroe Open” poster is available to download and print at: