I wish to clarify that what is intended is not to be going out mingling with people – walking and going outside to get exercise is encouraged. Apologies for creating any confusion.
In a press conference this morning, Governor Cuomo announced that four sites identified by the Army Corps of Engineers on initial list of temporary hospitals are about to be opened:
- Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
- SUNY Stony Brook
- SUNY Old Westbury
- Westchester Convention Center
He also announced new actions to increase the State’s supply of personal protective equipment for medical personnel and emergency responders; FEMA has granted New York’s request for a major disaster declaration. Attached is the most recent Executive Order 202.8 which was issued this morning.
It extends driver’s licenses and registrations for vehicles (so expired registrations and licenses should no longer be enforced);
It confirms that as of March 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. every employer of a non-essential service shall reduce their in-person workforce by 100%.
Entities providing essential services are exempt, but should operate at a level necessary to provide the essential service;
- No evictions of either residential or commercial tenants;
- All DMV appointments cancelled;
- It extends all statutes of limitations for all civil actions and proceedings and as otherwise required by law until April 19, 2020;
- Abates late filing of taxes under Section 1145 of Tax Law to authorize abatements of interest for 60 days for taxpayers who are required to file returns and remit sales and use taxes by March 20, 2020.
The Governor previously issued a series of Emergency Orders including the following:
- Urging all New Yorkers to stay at home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others to reduce the spread of the virus.
- In an Executive Order issued yesterday he closed all non-essential business and is ordering all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home.
- Effective tomorrow non-essential gatherings of any size are canceled or postponed.
- Municipal governments have been ordered to send home 50% of their employees in an effort to reduce exposure of both residents and employees to the virus.
We are working on a compendium of the Emergency Orders
which we will have available early next week.
Sewer Project Going Forward Governor Cuomo’s orders expressly identify construction projects as essential activities. The Town’s sewer project will go forward as it is essential to protecting water quality and will be performed only in a manner in which the workers are protected. In this regard, Brennan Construction, the contractor, has developed a Health Safety protocol to be observed to safeguard the workers.
We had cancelled a public information session on the project which would have been held earlier this week. I plan to re-schedule it as a Zoom meeting. I will announce the new date and time shortly. The meeting will provide an update on the project, mobilization on which commences the week of March 30. Among other topics, it will explain efforts being made to minimize noise, disruption and other adverse impacts. We intend, if at all possible, to maintain the schedule of substantial completion of the project in mid- 2021. We also aim to begin Phase II first quarter of 2022, now having secured funding for the Phase II project.
Closure of Bedford Town Offices and Parks (with limited exceptions) As I mentioned late yesterday, the Town Board adopted a resolution last night to replace my Emergency Declaration (expired yesterday) to maintain as closed to the public:
- All Town offices, except the Police Department and the Tax Receiver’s office (by appointment only for tax payments).
- Town parks except for non-group recreational activities and with social distancing)
Please Note Use of parks for walking – yes, the barriers are up to prevent vehicles from entering, but we certainly welcome those who wish to get out and walk. I have asked our Recreation & Parks Superintendent to provide guidance for parking outside of the parks but on nearby streets or Town parking lots. There will be inconvenience, but we ask that you bear with us.
Leash Law in Effect; Dirt Bikes Prohibited in Town Parks We are receiving reports of owners disregarding the leash law in the parks and Business Districts and, in addition, not cleaning up after their dogs. Particularly in the midst of a public health crisis, we cannot permit this inconsiderate behavior. Town of Bedford Dog Control has been notified of this problem, and will continue to actively enforce the leash law.
We also received reports of dirt bikes through streets in Bedford Hills and into Leatherman’s Ridge Conservation Area. Such activities were prohibited prior to this public health emergency. Here, too, our police have been notified and will take action.
Essential Businesses A number of local businesses have contacted us asking whether their business is deemed an essential business. While we cannot provide legal advice, I attach a guidance document from the New York State Department of Health and here is a link to the guidance document issued by the New York Empire State Development Corporation.
I have also attached the most recent Executive Order which states in part that that “an entity providing essential services or functions whether to an essential or non-essential business, shall not be subject to the in-person work restriction, but may operate at a level necessary to provide such service or function.”
Business owners also may want to contact the New York State Department of Health or Empire State Development Corporation with any questions. You can also apply for a waiver with the New York State Department of Health for your business if it is not listed as an essential business or as providing an essential service. Here is a form to submit your COVID-19 business questions in a New York State Department of Health guidance document, along with very useful information provided by the NYS Department of Health
I also attach several Legal Alerts which the Town’s counsel, Keane & Beane, has issued relating to new sick leave requirements in the event an employee needs to take time off due to sickness or other requirements relating to the COVI-19 virus.
Legal Alert Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Legal Alert Legislation providing job protection and pay for employee…
Tracking Individuals Tested Positive As of today, the number of Bedford residents who tested positive still remains at three. As previously noted, we are not permitted to disclose their identity. We also anticipate that the number will rise as more testing occurs. As to tracking the individuals, the focus on the part of the Westchester County Department of Health is to ensure that those individuals tested positive are quarantined. Such individuals are requested to notify those with whom they have come into contact who then are urged to self-quarantine.
The WCDOH does not have sufficient resources at present to carry out the tracking. We completely understand and empathize with those concerned about contacts with such individuals tested positive. We all have such concerns. It is advised that regardless of whether you believe you may have come into contact with an individual tested positive or an individual who might have come into contact with such individual, you should observe the advice to stay at home if you can, except to carry out essential activities or services, meet your essential needs (such as groceries and medications) or get out of the house for a walk or exercise while observing social distancing.
We also urge you to call 211 number for general questions and 888-364-3065 if you have symptoms and believe you may need to be tested. There also is reliable and accurate information from the WCDOH at https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus
COVID-19 Resources and Bedford Services
Here is a link: https://bit.ly/Resources_Bedford_Covid19 to a collection of resources that we have been gathering (my thanks to Town Board member Ellen Calves for doing the gathering).
You will see that this covers the following:
- If you have symptoms of Covid-19
- Resources for Bedford Seniors
- Special Grocery Store Hours for Seniors
- Grocery Delivery/Pick up
- Restaurant Delivery/Pick up
- Local Eateries that Deliver
- Prescription Delivery
- Mental Health Resources
- Food Assistance
- Other Services
- Links for Small Businesses
Ellen will be updating regularly.
Note: my weekly newsletter will be produced over the weekend.