Tompkins County Officials Share Reopening Updates, Resources

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**This is an official release from Tompkins County. Tompkins Weekly did not write this article.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

May 22, 2020

Tompkins County Officials Share Reopening Updates, Resources

(Ithaca, NY) – Tompkins County officials held a live streamed town hall on Thursday to share updates on the Southern Tier regional reopening and to answer questions submitted by the public. Video of the town hall can be found here.

The Southern Tier region of New York has been in phase one of reopening for a week and is on track to move on to phase two on May 29th. Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino said in response to the State COVID-19 Dashboard numbers for the Southern Tier, “We are well-positioned to graduate to the next phase, and future phases from there.”

Under phase two, industries that will be allowed to reopen include professional services including hair salons and barbershops, retail businesses, administrative support, and real estate, encompassing rental and leasing. Molino added “It’s important to recognize that these industries will be operating in a different fashion as guidelines around density, distance, face coverings, and hygiene will still apply. As we’re able to interact with each other, people need to be ready for a new normal.”

Administrator Molino noted that to he expects New York State to post additional direct guidance for essential businesses that have been operating throughout the pandemic, but that in the meantime they should be creating plans and documenting safety procedures. Guidelines from New York State are posted and updated here.

Gatherings and Recreation

Acknowledging that this weekend leads up to Memorial Day, Legislature Vice Chairwoman Shawna Black shared, “This weekend is usually a time where we gather to pause and reflect on the heroes who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military.” Black encouraged continued social distancing, stating “If we continue to stay apart for now we will be together again soon.”

Governor Cuomo announced that only official Memorial Day ceremonies with limited gatherings of 10 or less people will be allowed. This may include some tributes, flag raisings, and small parades this weekend. All non-essential gatherings of any size are still prohibited under NY Pause, including personal gatherings of individuals outside of immediate households.

As industries begin to reopen and more people are in shared spaces they must continue to consider density, distance between themselves and others, wearing face coverings, and good hand hygiene.

Guidance from New York State on beaches and campgrounds was clarified. While the Governor has allowed beaches to open, our environmental health team has confirmed that no beaches in Tompkins County are planning to be opened. Seasonal camping in RVs has been allowed in Tompkins County, and it was announced that RV camping for shorter stays will be allowed as well. This guidance aligns with limiting a need for shared spaces at campgrounds. Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We want to get people back to the things they love and want; we just want to make sure that we do it in the safest manner possible.”

Mental Health Resources

Legislator Black acknowledged that this is a tough time for many people in our community, stating “I know that many of us are facing our own personal struggles, as we’re more isolated, frustrated, and discouraged by this crisis – please know that there are people to talk to, resources for you and your family members, and support systems in place to help keep you healthy and safe.” County Administrator Jason Molino added, “Mental health services are available, and we’re finding new ways to connect with those in need – even if you’ve never needed mental health services before, we want you to know that it’s OK to reach out for the support that you need. Remember, we’re all in this together.”

Mental Health Commissioner & Public Health Director Frank Kruppa, referencing an uptick in call volume to the Suicide Crisis and Prevention Services help line, applauded their excellent support to the community, sharing, “You don’t have to wait to be in crisis... You don’t have to wait until you need to call the Crisis Line; please reach out to the available resources in our community”

A comprehensive list of local mental health resources can be found here.

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