[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of certain local laws amending these provisions are included as an attachment to this chapter.]
[Adopted 6-9-2020 by L.L. No. 24-2020]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, people are required to wear face masks in New York, with many electing to wear additional personal protective equipment (collectively, "PPE") while in public spaces to prevent the spread of the virus. This Legislature also finds and determines that many forms of PPE, such as paper masks and plastic gloves, are single use and should be discarded after use for the safety of both the user and the public. This Legislature further finds and determines that once discarded, PPE harbors germs and other bacteria which make it a public health hazard. Discarded used PPE can perpetuate the spread of viral infections and should not be touched by anyone other than the original user. This Legislature determines that the County of Suffolk has seen an increased amount of PPE littering in public areas during the COVID-19 crisis. This Legislature finds that littering PPE is detrimental to the health and safety of others during a public health crisis, adds to the accumulation of waste and harms the environment. This Legislature determines that improper disposal of PPE, just as the littering of other hazardous waste, should be specifically banned and appropriately punished in Suffolk County during periods of public health crisis.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to prohibit the improper discarding of PPE in any area other than an appropriate waste receptacle in Suffolk County during a declared state of emergency or other disaster declaration due to a public health crisis.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A natural individual.
- PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
- Any equipment worn to minimize exposure to germs or viruses that may cause serious illnesses. PPE shall include, but not be limited to, disposable or multi-use: face masks and coverings, gloves and hand coverings, face shields, goggles, gowns, head coverings, respirators, and shoe coverings.
- WASTE RECEPTACLE
- Any public, commercial, or private receptacle used for the temporary storage of solid waste while awaiting collection and proper disposal.
During any period when a disaster or state of emergency is declared in Suffolk County due to a public health crisis, a person shall dispose of any used personal protective equipment they utilize into a waste receptacle.
During any period when a disaster or state of emergency is declared in Suffolk County due to a public health crisis, no person shall throw, deposit, or place used personal protective equipment in any area or location utilized by members of the public other than a waste receptacle.
Violation(s) of any provision of this article shall be a criminal violation, subject to a fine of $250 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense, and $1,500 for any third or subsequent offense(s).
Each incident of improper disposal of personal protective equipment under this article shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
This article shall be enforced by the Suffolk County Police Department.
This article shall only be enforced during the period encompassing a state of emergency or disaster declaration due to a public health crisis affecting the County of Suffolk, as declared by the President of the United States, New York State Governor, or Suffolk County Executive.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring during a declared public health emergency or disaster, as established in § 646-5 of this article, on or after the effective date of this article.