Masks, Distancing, Hand-Sanitizer
Planned For Cooperstown Protest
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Coronavirus-era concerns raised by 500 people packed into Muller Plaza at last Sunday’s rally for justice may be avoided this coming Sunday in front the county courthouse here.
“We will have people spread out to the extent possible,” said Village Trustee MacGuire Benton, who attended last week’s rally and is one of four people organizing this one.
People will be asked to wear masks and to gather in several groups of no more than 50 people each, he said. Plus, the Cooperstown Distillery is donating 10 bottles of Cooper’s Clean hand-sanitizer to hinder the spread of any infection.
Photos of Oneonta protest last Sunday of the death of George Floyd May 25 in Minneapolis show pretty much everybody wearing a mask. Even so, at rally’s end organizers urged attendees to get tested for COVID-19.
Benton said police will also be observing to ensure social-distancing techniques are being followed.
However, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said that, for now, the plan is for officers to be “in the vicinity in case they’re needed, but away from the actual protest unless summoned.”
“I’ve had several conversations with our officer in charge, Jim Kelman,” said the mayor, “and he’s also talked with the county.” She added, “I worry less about the gathering than, shall I say, should some try to disrupt the gathering.”
Concerns about how the rally is conducted were raised by another trustee, Richard Sternberg, who emphasized, “I’m not against this at all. I’m in favor of it. “I’m just in favor of it being done professionally.”
For instance, he wondered whether “marshals” will be assigned to ensure attendees stay within bounds.
After talking with Benton, however, he expressed confidence that his concerns are being reflected in the planning process.