The mayor of the largest city in northern New York discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Plattsburgh region Thursday and praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s most recent actions to curb its spread.
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read was concerned several weeks ago when he noticed groups of people ignoring stay at home and social distancing orders. In an attempt to raise awareness and break up any gatherings he imposed a five-day curfew within the city which he then renewed. He said he would like to again extend it but can’t. “I would love to have the opportunity to extend that on a semi-permanent basis in my emergency orders. What we’re worried about obviously is the party goers. What we’d like to be able to do is if we can find you congregating at a party we can use the PAUSE rules from the Governor to fine you. But it gives us an added tool if we can see people on their way to a party to intercept then and educate them then. So I think a curfew is of value.”
On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended his PAUSE Executive Order until May 15th to keep schools and nonessential businesses closed and nonessential workers at home. He also ordered all New Yorkers to wear masks in public. “As relatively simple and possibly annoying as it seems wearing a mask is one of the best things that we can do. And I do not consider it a major burden. And it really is a simple measure that can save lives. This is a precaution for everyone that I think balances individual liberties with a social conscience. This will go into effect Friday 8 p.m.”
Read issued an Emergency Order on April 2nd that has been extended requiring all city employees in contact with the public to wear masks and gloves and recommending all residents wear masks. Read is praising Governor Cuomo’s mandate that everyone must now wear them when in public. “By imposing this statewide it turns out to really have helped the city residents because when they’re used to now to wearing a mask in the city they find it very unnerving to now go somewhere else and have people not wearing masks.”
Read, an economist by trade, says planning must start now for opening up the economy and the city is already reviewing its finances. “We know the long term implications. So what we’re trying to do is do the analysis and make steps take steps probably earlier than most would. But we see no choice. I’m sure every municipality is having the same sort of discussion as we are. We’re all going to suffer. None of us see relief coming from the federal government at this time. But if we can act earlier even if we’re in the same boat maybe we can fare a little bit better than we would have if we simply waited for other people to do stuff.”
Last weekend, there were three deaths due to COVID-19 reported in Clinton County. A senior living building in Plattsburgh was quarantined on April 9th after several residents tested positive. Read would like more protections on long-term care facilities during the pandemic. “I would hope the governor would consider adopting what they’ve done just north of us in Canada now. They’re asking workers who work at nursing homes to not work at multiple homes so we don’t spread the disease from one nursing home to another.”
Thursday night, the Clinton County Health Department quarantined a second high-rise senior housing complex in Plattsburgh. In a press release the department did not indicate if there were any infections but said tenants were notified in person of the quarantine. The Lakeview Towers Building is next door to the previously quarantined Russell Barnard building.