Cutoff Set For 8 p.m. Sunday;

Soldiers, Police May Enforce It

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – The County of Otsego is seeking, first, to understand today’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order directing a wide range of businesses to close by 8 p.m. Sunday and, second, to helpfully collaborate where it can.

County Board Chairman Dave Bliss ( photo)

That was the message that county board Chair Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, and Allen Ruffles, who chairs the county’s Emergency Task Force, delivered after this afternoon’s twice-daily task force meeting ended shortly before 4 p.m.

As of 3 p.m. today, no Coronavirus virus case had yet surfaced in the county, Bliss said.

In announcing the “New York State On PAUSE” today, Governor Cuomo said that, if necessary, the state National Guard and state police would be used to enforce the closures, but Bliss and Ruffles said they had received no direction in that regard.

They referred people to the Empire State Development Corp. website to determine what businesses are exempt from the directive to close, and have directed that a link be placed on the county’s home page,

Bliss and Ruffles also reported:

  • The county board’s Administrative Committee today successfully experimented with the Facebook Live program in broadcasting its deliberations. As a result, the county board’s April meeting, beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 1, will be broadcast on Facebook Live.
  • While the public will not be admitted to the meeting under the provisions of Cuomo’s emergency declarations, an email address will be set up for members of the public as a temporary alternative to the current “privilege of the floor.”
  • The focus of the past week since Cuomo’s declaration Friday, March 13, and Bliss’ declaration the next day has been to reduce the county’s on-site workforce to 50 percent, to limit any prospective threat from Coronavirus. While that’s been achieve, county employees are still working, although many of them through devices that allow them to do so at a distance.
  • Next week, the focus will turn outward, reaching out to villages, towns and the City of Oneonta “so we can all start working together,” as well as to food banks and other institutions responsible for citizens’ wellbeing.
  • The county and Bassett Healthcare Network are also considering a joint press conference next week to brief the public on the state of the emergency and progress that’s been made.

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