Restaino Takes Appropriate Measures to Protect Residents of Niagara Falls After Declaring Public Health Emergency

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Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino.


By: Tony Farina

Mayor Robert Restaino had a boat load of challenges facing him when he took over the reins of Niagara Falls city government Jan. 1, and now he has perhaps the biggest challenge of all, keeping folks calm and collected in the face of the coronavirus attack.

“We’re off to the races but we feel like the prey,” said the mayor on Sunday shortly after joining just about every other government in the area in declaring a state of emergency in Niagara Falls.

But while the city and the rest of Western New York is pretty much shut down because of the coronavirus, as of Sunday, the mayor was planning to go ahead with his state of the city address on March 31 but it won’t be a public event.  Instead he will deliver it through the public media and social media, updating city residents on the city’s current state and his plans for the future.

 “There’s no question we’re facing a public health emergency,” said the mayor in reporting what his emergency declaration means to residents, and advising that it is an evolving situation and he would have further information in the future.

For now, here is what it means:

* The John Duke Center and the La Salle Senior Center will be closed until further notice, beginning on Tuesday, following the Food Nutrition Program which did operate on Monday.

* All city youth programs are canceled until futher notice.

* All city boards and commissions that meet at City Hall at 5 p. m. or later are canceled until further notice.

* City offices remain open for business but employees should take appropriate health precautions.

* The hot line number is 888-364-3065.

There’s no question the mayor will likely have plenty to say about his plans to resuscitate the city in his March 31 address but of course while there are currently no coronavirus cases in Niagara County as of Monday, that could change and the entire picture could change depending on what happens in the next two weeks.  There’s also deep concern about the economic consequences of a tourism shortage given the world travel bans currently in place.  That would hit Niagara Falls right in the face of its tourist trade.

Currently, there is no immediate fix in sight but there are people at work to try and work to contain the spread of the virus and news of that effort is expected to be announced this week from a Buffalo partnership formed to deal with the crisis.  

Stay tuned.


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