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Modified: August 2, 2021 9:23am
Created: August 2, 2021 6:00am

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August 2, 2021

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein

95 Franklin Street

Buffalo, NY 14202

 Dear Dr. Burstein,

 As of Monday morning (August 2nd, 2021) Erie County Board of Elections Jeremy Zellner must enforce a policy forcing county employees and visitors to wear masks indoors at 134 West Eagle Street. This is supposedly to limit the spread of COVID-19.

 Less than 48 hours before (Saturday, July 31st, 2021) Mr. Zellner posted photos on social media with 18 people crammed into a confined space and not wearing masks. For one photo it looks like everyone in his class reunion fit into a tiny six-foot space.

 Mr. Zellner did not social distance, did not wear masks, and chose to live his life without fear of spreading COVID-19. Good for him. I’m proud of him. Unlike Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz who golfed, boozed with his buddies, and refused to social distance outdoors, Mr. Zellner took it one step further and did both indoors. He’s a wonderful example of not succumbing to fear of spreading COVID and simply enjoying a good time with friends.

 I applaud him. This is how bars and restaurants should look like every night of the week. Friends and family should follow his bold example when it comes to ignoring mask mandates and refusing to abide by six-foot social distancing requirements.  This leads to important questions the public needs answers to and only you can address as Health Commissioner:


  • Is COVID-19 such a smart and stealthy disease that Mr. Zellner and his friends are immune from spread on Saturday night, but county employees and visitors to county buildings on Monday morning will catch this dangerous and deadly disease without masks and social distancing?
  • What are your thoughts on the example set by the Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner when he and his mates did not wear masks indoors and did not social distance by standing six feet apart?
  • What are your recommendations to members of the public that might be confused seeing a political leader and Elections Commissioner and his mates not wearing masks and not social distancing, yet hearing other medical professionals recommend masks and distancing indoors?
  • Are Mr. Zellner and his mates immune from spreading COVID-19 on a Saturday night not wearing masks and not social distancing, but are protected if masks are worn indoors less than two days later?
  • Do you recommend members of the public follow his lead and not wear masks and not social distance while indoors?

 I think it’s wonderful Mr. Zellner ignored indoor mask wearing recommendations and social distancing recommendations and simply had a great time with friends. Good for him. That’s exactly what everyone should be doing, whether it be children in schools, worshippers in church, customers in bars and restaurants, or employees in county buildings.  I look forward to your prompt response, since serious confusion could take place with the public considering new indoor mask mandates and social distancing rules are now in place.




Hon. Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr.



For pdf of letter, click HERE

For pdf of photos, click HERE