By Matthew Saari

Rumors have been spreading faster than the novel coronavirus in recent days, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 100% reduction of non-essential workers and Policies Assure Uniform Safety Everyone (PAUSE) executive order.

Being spread mostly through social media platforms like Facebook, the rumors range from a simple curfew being enacted to the New York-Vermont border being shut down and National Guard soldiers patrolling the countryside.

“We’re getting bombarded with it,” said Granville/Whitehall police Sgt. Ryan Pedone.

To go with the curfew rumor, Pedone said, residents are hearing charges can be filed if people are out after 8 p.m. or are not “social distancing” themselves from someone by a factor of six feet.

This, Pedone said, is far from the truth.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “That’s not the case.”

County attorney Roger Wickes, who is also acting as the county’s public information officer during this health crisis, reinforced Pedone’s statement, saying the county has yet to receive any directive restricting travel, closing borders or that soldiers will be deployed to Washington County.

“There is no formal restriction,” Wickes said.

The state’s PAUSE directive, Wickes said, was enacted to advise people to limit their travel, since that is how COVID-19 is spread.

“This virus moves with people,” he said. “Stay where you are and you’ll keep it from moving around…limiting travel is the idea.”

Both Pedone and Wickes advised against sharing information originating from anywhere but official government sources, with Wickes pointing to the county’s website as an excellent source.

“That’s where it’s all posted,” said Wickes. “If it’s happening and it’s real, that’s where it will be.”

“They should really vet the source,” agreed Pedone, adding that “everyone needs to calm down” lest the misinformation they share adds to the already tumultuous, unprecedented situation.

The Granville State Police station did not return a call for comment by press time.

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