BATH, N.Y. (WENY) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that $65 million in funding and other additional resources are available for counties struggling to enforce the mask mandate that the governor enacted last week. For Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler, that is not enough.

"It's so tough," said Wheeler. "The thing that I get frustrated with is a mandate that is not enforceable, that [New York State] could have easily enforced if they wanted to."

In Steuben county, the legislature has to meet to accept funds from the state. The legislature does not meet until after the mask mandate expires on Jan. 15. Wheeler is concerned that the county will not be able to access the funds before the mandate expires.

"Resources are the main issue. We have focused our efforts entirely on contact tracing and vaccination, which are the things that are going to really help stem the tide here and get us through this," Wheeler said.

Throughout the pandemic, Wheeler has been focused on COVID-19 awareness campaigns, placing things like signage and vaccine clinics across the county so residents know the risks of the virus and resources available to them. 

"We’re just communicating with our businesses. We get tons of calls from our businesses, some frustrated about the mandate but others, who say: ‘What do we need to do?’ and ‘Can you help us?’," said Wheeler.

Steuben county can provide signage and free masks for local businesses but cannot provide any help in enforcing the week-old mandate.

"We are seeing anything from 50 and 100 cases a day in a relatively small population county. That’s all that our staff and volunteers can keep up with," Wheeler said. "We’re stretched to the max."

Wheeler shares the same concern with Hochul about the potential surge after holiday gatherings.

"I would be lying if it said I wasn't concerned about what the case rates look like with omicron after the holidays," Wheeler said.

The statewide and local tactics to halt COVID-19 are different. Steuben county has placed all of its resources into vaccinating community members. Only 56 percent of county residents are fully inoculated. For now, Steuben county is continuing the tactics that they know.

"With the holidays we’re just continually messaging. No one is saying don’t get together with family and friends, its just like how folks have been for the last couple of years," said Wheeler. "Be cautious."