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McMahon, Walsh ask Cuomo to reduce orange zone restrictions in Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon wants the state to streamline the hodgepodge of orange and yellow coronavirus zones that currently exist in the county.

Right now the city of Syracuse and close suburbs are labeled as an orange zone, which means there can be no indoor dining. In other parts of the county, labeled yellow zones, indoor dining is allowed.

McMahon points out most of the coronavirus spread now is in people’s homes, and while coronavirus numbers are high, they are stabilizing.

"At this point, when you find your balance overall, you can handle caseloads, our hospital numbers are going in the right direction, these businesses in these zones are being hurt,” McMahon said. “At this point, we’ve got to change that.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh has written to Gov. Cuomo asking for changes in restrictions. He said the zones don’t reflect how people move. Many leave orange zone areas to find indoor dining in other areas of the county, which defeats the purpose of the metric. Local restaurants are also lobbying Albany to loosen restrictions.

McMahon on Thursday reported 13 more deaths attributed to COVID-19, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 502. He added the percentage of positive cases is under 6%, the lowest it’s been in a week. The number of COVID patients in the hospital is also down to 277.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.