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Coronavirus Update - June 23, 2020

Post Date:06/23/2020 12:41 PM

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Today starts the opening of Phase 3: Restaurants/Food Services and Personal Care. As we have moved smoothly through Phases 1 and 2, let’s cross our fingers and hope that another two weeks will bring us to Phase 4: Arts/Entertainment/Recreation and Education. As each of the phases has had tag-along business openings, we assume that there is an unwritten “and everything else” attached to Phase 4. All openings are, of course, subject to the rules, regulations and now customs that apparently will be with us so long as COVID-19 remains our unwelcome guest.

As we enter Phase 3, and before we head out to our favorite restaurant, we might take a moment to reflect on how much we have to celebrate, to look forward to and to be concerned about. 

We should celebrate how far we have come in our communal effort to tamp down COVID-19.  By the County’s reckoning, there are only 557 active cases in Westchester (as compared to more than 3,000 in mid-May) and only one in Rye. Of the active Westchester cases, less than 100 are currently hospitalized. We wish all still suffering a quick recovery and the opportunity to join us in celebration. Nor can we celebrate without remembering the more than 1,400 Westchester residents that have died of COVID-19 and without mourning their loss.

If all goes as planned, we can look forward to further re-opening of businesses and, most importantly, jobs. We can look forward to a return to our favorite pursuits, however they may be stamped differently by COVID 19.

Even as we find our new normal, we need to remain concerned about maintaining the discipline of hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing that will help us guard against the return of overwhelming contagion.  We must be concerned about how we, the adults, behave and what we are teaching our children about their responsibility to their own families and others. We have a summer of challenge ahead of us, in terms of helping our children find worthwhile pursuits and at the same time stick to pandemic rules.  It is easy to observe unmasked, undistanced and likely not same-household groups of kids moving through Rye. We have to help the kids understand the game. 

Back now to Phase 3. Our “Purchase Plaza” street closure and outdoor dining project opens today. The City is excited, the restaurateurs and merchants are excited, and we all sure hope you are, too.  Due to restaurant concerns, we are holding in abeyance the reservations-only rule, but please remember that the Governor just put in place an executive order that makes each restaurant responsible, on pain of losing its liquor license, for making sure that social distancing and mask rules are followed within 100 feet of its premises.  Please come and enjoy a good meal in the middle of a good street --- but mind your distance and your mask (except when seated!). Note that the parking meters are back on and running until 9 pm, for the benefit of the City’s COVID-injured budget.

Some important Phase 3 tag-alongs in the works are the opening of the Rye Golf Club pool later this week (details) and, at Rye Rec, the re-opening of fields and our remaining unopened tennis courts (please go here for details) . City playgrounds are anticipated to be ready to re-open next week. Each of these openings is, as you would expect,  subject to COVID-19 rules. Please take it all in stride.

For more on changes to City services, please go to Interim City Manager Greg Usry’s memo for an overview of what is coming down the pike. As DPW staff returns, the City will be moving back to twice-a-week garbage pick-up. (Incidentally and unrelated to pick-up frequency, I note last week’s bear sighting in Rye – according to the DEC a not uncommon suburban event as young bears go walkabout in spring and find joy in our trash, bird feeders and outdoor pet food, before returning to safer places. Please click here for more information, particularly on how to respond when a bear becomes your bear.) 

The census is ongoing.  Rye is not yet producing a better response percentage than it managed 10 years ago.  Please take this opportunity to declare to your federal government that you exist, that you live in the excellent City of Rye and that you and your hometown deserve and expect to be reasonably respected in the next decade’s distribution of good stuff.  Now’s the time to say we are here.

Phase 3 has come remarkably coincident with summer on the calendar and real summer weather. It feels like change.  Change is good!

Mayor Josh Cohn 


Useful Contacts:

  • People under self-quarantine or exposure to known case, call (866) 588-0195 or 2-1-1 to self-report
  • NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline (888) 364-3065
  • Westchester County COVID-19 Information Call 211


NY Dept of Health Coronavirus Update

NY Dept of Health Contacts

County COVID Updates

Court Closing Information



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