County Executive Bellone: 'I fundamentally respect' right to protest, 'but do it safely'

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County Executive Steve Bellone addressed a protest attended by about 100 people Friday in Commack where many were seen not socially distancing or wearing facemasks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bellone said that he was aware of the economic hardships the county is facing and that he agrees with the protesters that the economy must be opened back up.
“We know the suffering out there...we do need to reopen our economy. But we need to do it safely,” Bellone said Saturday during his daily COVID-19 briefing.
He said that a second wave of virus cases would be devastating.
There were 24 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 overnight, bringing the county’s death toll to 1,227.
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Briefing Notes:
  • County Executive Bellone addresses protest that was held Friday in Commack. He says officials knew that the COVID-19 outbreak would cause economic distress.
  • The right of people to protest "I fundamentally respect."
  • "If you are out there communicating what you believe...do it safely."
  • "We know the suffering out there...we can see it in the economic numbers nationally. We do need to reopen our economy. But we need to do it safely."
  • Keys to reopening Suffolk: Scaled up testing program and tracing program; all sectors of our economy reopening in a safe way (cleaning/sanitation measures); the public respecting social distancing measures, wearing face coverings.
  • "I can't think of anything more devastating...than a second surge" of COVID-19 cases.
  • "We ended the month of April with 1,100 people dying in a matter of weeks...from COVID-19."  In the last 24 hours, 24 more Suffolk residents died.
  • The county's death toll stands at 1,227.
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