With Christmas Day fast approaching, Erie county has announced a new initiative to try to curb the spread of COVID-19, while people head out to houses of worship.

Erie county announced today, that they will be offering free masks to houses of worship in the area, through the end of the year.  The county has partnered with Live Well Erie, a broad-based, data-driven initiative involving numerous partners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors collaborating to achieve greater health outcomes and improving the overall quality of life for its residents, to offer houses of worship countywide a chance to place orders for masks to be used during services throughout the holidays, and to distribute to their worshipers.

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The holiday season always brings large crowds to houses of worship, and the county extending the offer of free masks is being done in part to ad an added layer of protection against not only COVID-19, but also the flu and other respiratory illnesses while the New York State and Erie County mask mandates remain in effect.

Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis through the end of the year.  All houses of worship are eligible to place orders online by CLICKING HERE. Orders can also be placed by phone, by calling (716) 858-1928. Please leave a message with your name and phone number.

Once orders are placed, houses of worship will receive details on how to pick up their masks.  For those that cannot pick them up, there may be an opportunity to have the order delivered.

Erie County Public Information Officer (Health) Kara Kane told us;

Masks are a low-effort, high-impact way of reducing your risk of illness from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19 and flu. Erie County is distributing masks to houses of worship in advance of holiday services to help these organizations keep their faith communities healthy and safe this holiday season.

COVID numbers in Western New York continue to be some of the worst in the state.  There have been 2,690 new cases of COVID-19 in Erie county for the week ending 12/11/21, with Lackawanna leading the way with 688 total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days.

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