COOPERSTOWN – In all, 107 new coronavirus cases were reported in Otsego County today, and all were SUNY Oneonta students, according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.
That brings the total to 460 total confirmed cases since the pandemic threat arrived in March, Bond reported, four times as many as had been reported in the county when the SUNY Oneonta outbreak began Aug. 24, a week ago Monday.
By RICHARD STERNBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The below is a letter I received (along with the rest of the Cooperstown Village Board) from a constituent and my response.
To the Members of the Village Board:
As you deliberate on proposed Local Law 7, we respectfully request you discuss the following points so your intent and purpose is clearly understood by all
If the purpose of this proposal is “to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Village residents,” why is it limited to only a portion of two streets? Even a casual observer can see there is relatively little activity on Main Street these days.
Currently the most congested areas of the village are on Fish Road and the block of Fair Street near the boat launch.
There is also considerable foot traffic on the northernmost block of Pioneer Street, where only one side of the street has a sidewalk which is much narrower than Main Street.
Moreover, there is very little mask-wearing and social-distancing in Lakefront Park and the walkway connecting Pioneer Street and Fish Road does not allow for distancing.
In other areas of the village there is a great deal of activity near the hospital and clinic; the grocery store and pharmacy; the gas stations and other commercial areas. Why are they not included?
With respect to enforcement, the Board should seriously reconsider the maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense. … Do you have the personnel and expertise to enforce this one?
During the current pandemic, the wearing of a mask or face covering is a sensible thing to do. Government regulations should be sensible as well.
Thank you for your consideration.
Here is my response:
Your point is well taken about the law being extended to all other areas in the village, just like it is everywhere in Key West and other municipalities.
I would have never thought that this could be passed, especially since there are areas in the village with very low concentrations of pedestrians with easy ability to social distance. But with your help and support, this could happen. Thank you for support of this idea. I will present it.
By the way, I don’t know when you are on Main Street, but there is a high percentage of people not wearing masks, AND NOT PUTTING THEM ON WHEN PASSING OR NEAR OTHER PEOPLE.
In fact, these people aren’t carrying masks and if they have masks, they are not visible. In a pocket or purse, they cannot quickly be whipped on. I wouldn’t dare walk Main Street.
By the way, there are already laws in place to punish lack of a mask if not socially-distancing or not wearing one indoors at a public place, under the governor’s state of emergency. These should be enforced.
As you point out, the Village is putting in place a maximum penalty of $1,000. As you know, the individual’s penalty is imposed set by the presiding judge and at $1,000 is half of the state maximum penalty of $2,000 for violating similar laws.
I would think that maybe the initial fine for someone would be on the order of $100, as it is in Key West, and would escalate with repeat or recalcitrant offenders.
I agree that more citations should be given for other offenses. Once the public was aware of this, their behavior would change.
It doesn’t take many for a village with as good a communication system as Cooperstown has for word to get out. There are also other laws that violating could cause death, like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and not stopping at STOP signs or red lights.
During a pandemic wearing a mask IS the sensible thing to do. If only everyone did when in the presence of other members of the public, we would have this thing beat in eight weeks, according to the head of the CDC.
Please read the article in the latest Weekend Wall Street Journal, page C1, “The True Face of Freedom Wears a Mask.” Unfortunately, there are, to use a word favored by my family, ice holes, who don’t give a darn about your life and mine, and both of us are high-risk individuals.
Even the Republican President of the United States requires everyone around him to wear masks and get tested daily, albeit to protect himself. Wearing a mask is not just sensible it is a life and death issue.
COOPERSTOWN – COVID-19 is still with us, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond said today in reporting four new local cases in the past four days. Two people are now hospitalized locally with the disease.
Thursday, Bond had reported another four cases.
“Be mindful that the virus is still in our community,” she said, “and it continues to be very important to practice social distancing and wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Wash hands frequently especially after using the rest room and before eating.
COOPERSTOWN – With one report of coronavirus in the village, complaints about people not wearing masks and lenience in places of business, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch has called a special meeting of the Village Board at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
There, she will be seeking trustee approval of a FAQ (frequently asked questions) to be posted on the village and tourist-related websites emphasizing Village Hall’s stance on the coronavirus: “We strongly support and always promote public safety and social distancing.” The FAQs would also include the list of 22 states from which visitors are required to be quarantined for two weeks.
Today, she said, one of the village police officers was assigned to walk Main Street and visit local businesses to ensure people are wearing masks. Another officer will do so Sunday, and the patrols will continue during the week, she said.
COOPERSTOWN – The county Department of Health is reporting “a slight increase” in the number of local cases of the coronavirus, including two new hospitalizations.
The four new cases raise the county total from 81 to 85, since there have been no additional recoveries since the last report on July 10. That total consists of 73 recoveries, five deaths, and seven active cases at this time.
COOPERSTOWN – A new case of coronavirus has surfaced since the last report by the county Department of Health on July 6, and there has also been one recovery, maintaining the number of active cases in Otsego County at three.
That brings the total confirmed cases to 81, and the total recoveries to 73. There were five deaths locally.
‘Walk This Way.” “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.” “Check Your Head.”
These aren’t just favorite albums and songs – they’re directives on how to enjoy the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which reopened this past Monday, June 15.
“Museums and museum professionals think about this all the time,” said Hall President Greg Harris, an alumnus of both the Cooperstown Graduate School and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
How to create a flow – the do’s and dont’s of touching artifacts – so in this heightened moment, museums are perfectly positioned to work with these stringent guidelines, but still create a memorable experience.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the museum in March, Harris and his staff began working on plans to reopen.
“We put together a task force and got in touch with museums all over the country,” he said.
We were working with the CDC recommendations, as well as recommendations from the American Association of Museums, which has been very involved in shaping those requirements for us.”
A new online ticketing system was built, allowing guests to buy tickets via the Internet ahead of time for a specific time slot to ensure that the museum is not over capacity. Touch-free sliding glass doors were installed, and floor decals were placed throughout the museum to allow visitors to proceed safely.
Dead-end galleries, like the one that housed Vans Warped Tour, were closed, he said.
Visitors and employees will be subject to temperature screenings by nursing students hired by the museum. “If your temperature is over 100, you can’t come in,” he said. “And masks will be required. If you come without a mask, we’ll give you one.”
Or, he said, souvenir masks are available in the gift shop.
In addition to the museum itself, there were dining, retail and theater spaces to consider, each with its own set of regulations.
“All the surveys we did said that people were more inclined to be outdoors,” he said. “We’ve reconfigured our beer garden and food trucks, and we’re going to start having live music, which a lot of people have missed.”
Among those slated to play live performances are his son, Cooperstown native Jack Harris, whose song “No One Listens” has received radio airplay in Cleveland.
In the theaters, every other row will be cordoned off to best accommodate social distancing.
Last Sunday, June 13, the first guests were welcomed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a free event for health care workers and their families.
“We’re reopening as a stronger museum,” said Harris.
WEST ONEONTA – From the beginning, Marty Patton, Cooperstown All Star Village proprietor, had concerns about being able to operate safely as the coronavirus swept the nation.
“What if a coach comes in from out of the area, and the kids get infected?” he reflected the day after deciding it will be impossible to open his youth-baseball tournament venue on Route 205 this summer.
But many obstacles, he discovered over the past several weeks, were arrayed against a successful 2020 season that he’s been hoping, week by week, to launch since early May: