Leaders in Steuben County are taking enhanced measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“We believe that we have a good plan for the citizens of Steuben County moving forward, obviously compliance is our primary goal,” said Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard.

The rural county has a population just under 100,000 people, but confirmed cases of COVID-19 are nearing the 100 mark with several deaths and a few clusters in nursing homes. So the county is boosting its message to prevent more cases of COVID-19.

Steuben County Public Health Director, Darlene Smith said “we’ve been pretty consistent in our message to all of Steuben County about the importance of social distancing and to stay home.”

The county wants to ensure people stay home, so it announced enhanced enforcement of the New York State on PAUSE executive order by Governor Cuomo.

“What we’re talking about are large groups gathering in parks, people meeting up as we’ve talked about and as we keep getting reports on to go grocery shopping together that aren’t immediate family that live in the same household,” said Jack Wheeler, Steuben County Manager.

People caught violating social distancing guidelines will get a letter of warning for their first offense, but other violations could come with a $2,000 fine, or up to one year in jail.

“We have absolutely no desire to take enforcement action in any of these situations, however enforcement is always on the table if we can’t gain compliance through education,” said Sheriff Allard.

The county says it will investigate complaints as they are reported, and sheriff's deputies will address situations they see on patrol.