With the number of COVID-19 cases ballooning to 43 as of Monday evening in Ulster County and an astounding 411 cases as of Monday evening in Orange County, the area has seen a significant number of new closures in an attempt to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Starting at the top, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued the executive order New York State on Pause. This is a 10-point executive order put in place to assure safety for everyone in the state.
Effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced.
When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.
Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people. People should also limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders.
Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations. Everyone should use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.
More restrictions have been placed at the local level as well. Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher continued the State of Emergency in the Town of Montgomery effective as of 12:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23.
The Montgomery Town Hall will remain open and operational absent further notice but shall be closed to the public. All in-person services which are provided to residents at Town Hall shall be by appointment only at the sole discretion of Town personnel. Residents are directed to call the Town’s main switchboard number at 845-457-2600 and follow the prompts for routing to the desired department.
The Town of Montgomery Police Department will continue with normal operations but public access to the Police Station will be limited. Those wishing to enter the police station must first call 845-457-9211 to request entry.
At this time town employees have been designated as either essential or non-essential personnel. Non-essential employees have been directed to work from home or allowed to take leave with pay without charging accrued leave absences.
Town Board Meetings have continued but with an interesting twist: no one has been allowed to attend them. The applicable provisions of the Open Meetings Law have been suspended by a Declaration of Emergency by Gov. Cuomo, allowing this to occur. Meetings have been conducted by conference call and live broadcast on the Town of Montgomery Facebook page, allowing for the public to stay informed.
The conduct of building inspections and the issuance of building permits, certificates of occupancy and other Town issued permits have resumed to a limited extent at the discretion of the Building Inspector or the relevant person or board charged with issuing such permits.
The Village of Walden has also taken additional precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, March 19 Village Manager John Revella declared a state of emergency and issued an Executive Order limiting access to Village Hall and each of the offices and places of business of Village government to appointments only arranged by either telephone or email. The Village Hall may be reached by calling 845-778-2177.
Just like last week, the Village of Montgomery has canceled all village meetings this week. Village offices will be open, however people should call the office at 845-457-9661 if they have Village Business rather than coming in. Village Court encourages everyone to make payments online at GoPayNow.com, rather than come into court. Mayor Stephen Brescia told residents to stay safe during this challenging time.
“Please follow precautions that are posted, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces etc.,” he said. “If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home. If they progress, such as difficulty breathing, call 911.”
Much like the Town of Montgomery and the Village of Walden, the Village of Maybrook issued a Declaration of Local State of Emergency Executive Order on March 17 and provided a revised version on March 23. Village Hall, as well as the Department of Public Works and Village Police Department offices are closed to the public. The Village Offices will be available for in-person services, payments and permits by appointment only during the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Village Police Department shall continue all essential services. Village Court is closed until further notice, except the individual matters deemed essential may proceed as the Village Justice determines.
The meetings of the Village Board of Trustees will continue as scheduled, but each meeting will be conducted via teleconference, with no opportunity for public attendance. Recordings of these meetings will be posted to the Village’s website. All meetings of the Village of Maybrook Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals are canceled until further notice. Maybrook Mayor Dennis Leahy encouraged residents to maintain a positive attitude.
“As we move forward in the coming days, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be disruptive, but we will get through this together,” he said.
Effective Thursday, March 19 at 4 p.m. the Town of Crawford will be closed for all non-essential services until further notice. Supervisor Charles Carnes noted that each department at Town Hall will be checking their phones daily. The Police Department will be on duty 24/7 at this time.
“Thank you for your patience during this time,” Carnes said. “We hope to resume normal services as soon as possible when it is deemed safe for both our residents and Town employees.”
Like other municipalities, the Town of Shawangunk has limited residents’ access to Town Hall. Access to the Town Hall will be by phone and appointment only. If anyone has any questions they should call 845-895-2611.
Due to the current public safety health threat of COVID-19 exposure, all scheduled public meetings and events have been canceled in the Town of Gardiner through the end of March and are postponed until further notice.
Local officials continue to work hard to protect the communities they serve.
“The health and safety of our staff and community are our top priority,” said Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher.