This afternoon citing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases within the county, Erie County officials have issued a new mask mandate for the county.

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The new mask mandate is part of Phase One of a four-phase plan to help reduce the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Starting at 6 am on Tuesday, November 23rd you will now need to wear a mask if you are indoors in any public area. The mask mandate will apply to anyone over the age of 2 not matter what your vaccine status is.

Also, employees that interact with the public must also wear a mask at all times while on the job. This includes bars and restaurants, grocery and other retail stores, movie and live theaters, barber and beauty shops, gyms, entertainment venues, hotels, banks, and any other location that is open to the public.

Phase two of Erie County's plan calls for vaccinations for anyone who is eligible. Phase three includes capacity limits for public spaces and places where people gather like bars and restaurants. Phase four would be mean the return of shutdowns.

Erie County has seen a sharp increase of positive cases over the past couple of weeks. There have been 371 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the county over the past seven days.

November 18th and 19th were the third and fourth highest cases of positivity in the county on record.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is calling for everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to go and get the vaccine as soon as they can.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.