Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a week ago that many parts of Western New York would be given a yellow zone microcluster as rates of COVID-19 rise rapidly in the region.

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The rates have continued to go up at an alarming rate since, as Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz gave an update on the COVID-19 situation on Monday.

According to Poloncarz, 374 more cases were confirmed in Erie County with a daily (Sunday, November 15th) positive rate of 8 percent. The seven-day average is just under 7 percent.

Because of the rapid increases in cases, questions have been raised as to if and when Erie County would be bumped up to an orange or red zone status?

According to WGRZ, Governor Cuomo said no changes would happen over the weekend but the state would look at where they stand on Monday in regards to potential changes.

Poloncarz said an update might come as early as tomorrow from Governor Cuomo.

"The state might issue an update tomorrow (Tuesday, November 17) either expanding the Yellow Zone or changing it to Orange or Red. It all depends on the data," Poloncarz stated.

But what does an orange warning designation mean? Here are the restrictions for an orange warning zone status.

Orange Zone:

  • Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity.
  • Mass Gatherings limited to 10 people or less indoor and outdoor, which is already in place statewide.
  • Closure of high-risk, non-essential businesses; examples would be gyms and personal care.
  • Outdoor dining ONLY. Limited to four people per table.
  • Schools closed for in-person learning.

That would certainly be a huge blow to the restaurant business here in Western New York.

Red Warning Zone means only essential businesses open and no mass gatherings of any kind. It's also possible the yellow zone restrictions are expanded in Erie County. We'll have to wait and see.