By Lourice Angie
Based on the seven metrics that Governor Andrew Cuomo has outlined for New York State, Orange County presently does not meet the criteria to begin Phase 1 of reopening on Fri., May 15.
Orange County is part of the Mid-Hudson region, which also includes Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties, and currently meets five of the seven metrics as required by the Governor’s phased New York Forward re-opening plan. Full explanations on the metrics that need to be met as well as the status of each region can be found on a dashboard updated daily by the state. The Regional Monitoring Dashboard can be found at https://forward.ny.gov/regional-monitoring-dashboard.
There has been a lot of confusion regarding when and what kind of businesses in Orange County will reopen. Due to the state order, Phase 1, which includes curbside retail, will not be authorized until the Mid-Hudson region meets all seven metrics. Upon moving into Phase 1, there will be a two-week monitoring period to ensure metrics are still being met before moving into Phase 2.
Up-to-date information on Governor Cuomo’s “NY Forward Reopening” plan can be found at www.forward.ny.gov. The NYS Department of Health also has a webpage entitled ‘What You Need to Know’ for the most up-to-date information regarding the state’s regional phased reopening: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.
The public is advised and encouraged to continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face mask or face covering in public particularly when the practice of social distancing (staying at least six feet apart) is not possible in such situations as public transport, shopping or on crowded sidewalks.
Local Coronavirus Update
As of Mon., May 18, there were 532 positive COVID-19 cases in the Town of Warwick. Throughout Orange County the positive cases numbered 10,039 with 408 deaths county-wide as a result of the virus. Warwick’s number is considered “fairly low” in the county on a per thousand population basis. The Town Board appreciates that citizens seem to be adhering to the state safety guidelines and helping to keep the spread controlled and numbers low within the community.
Supervisor Michael Sweeton reported that he plans to have a call with the staff at St. Anthony Community Hospital soon and that, so far, the hospital has been managing well and has good capacity. The state has opened up Orange County for elective surgeries, the Board said they will continue monitoring that as well.
The Town Board commended the community in Warwick, especially the police and fire departments, local volunteer efforts and support from local businesses.
“These are all estimates, it could be a little sooner, but most likely not. Whether we like it or not we are in the Mid-Hudson region and we cannot do anything to get out of that,” Sweeton stated regarding estimates on the reopening of the Mid-Hudson region.
Sweeton has been in touch with the local Chambers of Commerce to prepare businesses for eventual reopening. He noted that the Warwick Drive-in is planning a “Town resident only” day, more information will be forthcoming.
“Any business that does end up open must be prepared to show they are operating with social distancing criteria from the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” he concluded.
Social Distancing at Town Parks
Councilman Russell Kowal was “pleased to report” that residents are practicing social distancing at the Town parks. According to the Governor’s executive order, keeping a distance of at least six feet and wearing a face mask when unable to maintain that distance is required in order to keep parks open. As the weather gets seasonably warmer and people begin to venture out more, it is important that citizens continue to adhere to these safety guidelines.
Senior Center, Town Offices Remain Closed
The Warwick Senior Center will remain closed until the Mid-Hudson Region is cleared and deemed safe to reopen. The Board anticipates that this will be sometime in June. All Town Hall offices continue to be closed to the public at this time. The Town Hall lobby located at 132 Kings Hwy., remains open with drop boxes to leave forms, water and sewer payments, and Building Department applications. Most forms and applications can be obtained online at www.townofwarwick.org. Please be advised that the Town is not accepting any cash payments at this time. Residents are asked to pay by check or money order. For more information, call 986-1124.
Annual WFD Carnival Postponed
Councilman James Gerstner reported that the annual Warwick Fireman’s Carnival, scheduled to be held in the end of June, has been postponed. The decision was not an easy one, and very disappointing to the entire fire department. However, due to the current coronavirus global pandemic and the state policies to reduce events with crowds, this decision was made to best protect the health and safety of the community, attendees, vendors, and volunteers.
Next Town Board Meeting
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Thurs., May 28 at 7:30 p.m. In accordance with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order, Town Board meetings will be closed to the public but can be viewed live online via Zoom. A link to the meeting will be placed in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, and on the Town website at www.townofwarwick.org.
Photo by Jennifer O’Connor
A sign thanking essential workers is displayed above the steps of the Warwick Town Hall.