Cuomo Allows Our New York Towns
To Start A Very Soft Re-Opening
By Edie Johnson
We all have things that are special and that we are missing during this COVID-19 crisis. While some states lost their patience and have started re-opening venues on a larger scale, and others are staying pretty much on “Lockdown”, New Yorkers are inching into a very soft opening. In an important announcement as we go to press, Governor Cuomo has revised the order that nursing homes must accept stabilized COVID-19 patients (see page 16). Meanwhile, after a month of petitions, calls and letters were sent to Albany earlier this month, Governor Cuomo and the legislature agreed to allow boat launch sites, hunting preserves and golf clubs to reopen on a limited scale. Participants have resumed their avid sportsmanship activities and are generally following safe guidelines. Hunting preserves are allowing a limited number of participants at a time, as long as they wear face masks and keep distance from each other. The same goes for golfers. By Thursday, the City of Newburgh’s boat launch had multiple crafts arriving and leaving, each with a couple of proud fishermen aboard. Almost all were following safe distancing and wearing masks. Several others were fishing along the shoreline. Other “Pandemic Upsides” could be seen around Orange County, with dads and their children walking along the area’s bucolic country roads. Hiking the forest preserves and mountainsides got so busy that many trails have had to be temporarily closed. Some parents are enjoying the time they are spending on schooling and art . Others are beginning to tear their hair out, wanting some time of their own. People are starting to talk about whether we can keep some of these benefits and still get back to a working economy.
Earth Day In Orange County And A few Pandemic Upsides
Despite the Rampant COVID-19 problems, there is much to celebrate on this week of the Earth day, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Orange County has several potent dozen environment organizations, including, Riverkeeper, regional and town Community Advisory Committees, the Preservation Collective, the County Planning Department and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, just to name a few.
Along with the ravages and sorrows of COVID-19, we have learned some shocking benefits, signs that the earth is suggesting what is needed to save our collective future.
Mountain ranges that haven’t been visible for decades can now be seen. Air quality tests in China are up 21.5%, and in Italy pollution is down 10%. The Eiffel Tower and Empire State buildings can now be seen clearly . The Ozone Layer has even been healing, and waters that were brown are blue again. Traffic congestion is all but gone and gas prices have plummeted. Workers are learning new skills, telecommuting and holding Zoom Meetings. Parents are spending more time with their children, helping them learn. And families are learning about neighbors who need help, while communities develop new kinds of social service assistance. Houses are being repaired, and gardens started for Summer.
Those passionate about protecting the environment are wondering how to maintain these tremendous accomplishment both for the environment and society as the economy reopens.
Photos by Edie Johnson