- Last Updated: 27 March 2020 27 March 2020
Coronavirus continues to be the number one focus in the Town. This week the number of cases in Ossining rose past 90 and applying for unemployment claims are reaching unprecedented levels in New York State and across the country. As businesses are feeling the pain, and all of us are holed up, to the greatest extent possible, in our homes, we are also seeing a tremendous outpouring of people wanting to help, and innovations taking place. While many of us are increasingly stressed out about when the virus will hit home, there are a tremendous number of resources now being offered for food distribution, mental health support, social networking, municipal service alternatives, and so much more. Additionally, check out the Town Website for FAQs from many of our departments. Many of these resources will also be listed on our website for easy reference. Before jumping into those, I want to encourage you again to only trust information from official sources. Be wary of scammers selling tests or requesting private information. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to maintain social distances, wash your hands often, and avoid communal surfaces/spaces. Policies, mandates, and guidance from the Federal Government, plus our State and County partners have been changing by the day, and sometimes even by the hour. I encourage you to sign up for updates from New York State so you can remain informed with current and accurate information and check out the Westchester County website as well.
I want to give a HUGE shout out to all our volunteer and professional first responders who have been working on the front lines of this pandemic, and to our healthcare workers. We cannot thank you enough for being there for all of us. You are our heroes!
The leadership from the County and State remains unwavering. Governor Cuomo sent out a call to therapists and social workers to volunteer their services, and has since established a FREE mental health hotline! Call (844) 863-9314 to schedule an appointment. The County has started a Q&A hotline for those with questions about Coronavirus: (866) 588-0195. The Federal Government has announced an income relief package that will allow independent contractors and gig-workers to be eligible for unemployment. Small businesses will be issued grants on the condition they retain their employees. Households will be receiving money by direct deposit or check in the upcoming weeks. New York State residents who are homeowners can contact their mortgage lenders for flexibility in payments. Information regarding deferment of payment for tenants has not been outlined yet, however evictions have been halted completely. The Westchester County Bee Line Bus system has moved to only allow rear-door boarding and exiting all buses. This means that no fares are currently being collected on Bee Line Buses to avoid close contact with the bus driver. Metro North Railroad will also be moving to an amended Saturday schedule on the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven Lines starting today, Friday, March 27, until further notice. If you are still using Metro-North for commuting, be sure to check the schedule before arriving for your "usual" train.
This week Governor Cuomo arranged for personal protective equipment (PPE -- now we all know what this acronym means!) to be distributed to hospitals and medical professionals to help combat the ongoing crisis. However, there is a worldwide shortage of supplies and we already find community resources that are short, and this bound to get worse before it gets better. Right now, our local first responders have the equipment they need, but we want to ensure there is no gap in protection for them or our local health clinics. We are overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone who has donated supplies so far. For any household or business that wants to donate gloves, masks, or other personal protective equipment, we have established a drop off point at OVAC headquarters at 8 Clinton Avenue in Ossining. The donations will be distributed to our first responders and local clinics in this crisis.
Town and Village offices continue to be closed to the public – but we are online and available by phone! All offices, with the exception of the Justice Court, remain fully operational. If we do not already have a remote solution set up for a specific function, each Department is ready, willing, and able to find a solution to provide all services either via mail, e-mail, or over the phone. Contact information for each department is available on each individual department's page of the Town website. Online services include dog license renewals, tax payments, FOIL requests, assessment records, and your refuse/recycling schedule (if you live in the unincorporated Town you can even download an app that lets you check your schedule daily on your phone, specific to your address!). If you have any difficulty contacting a Town department, please contact the Town Supervisor’s office at (914) 762-6001.
We know this is an extremely tough time for many who have had to put businesses and pay checks "on pause." We are working hard with the State, County, and other Westchester Municipalities to find a way to make it easier for those who may have trouble paying their taxes on time. We will keep you posted.
In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, all playgrounds, courts, ball fields, dog parks, and gathering areas remain closed for public gatherings, congregate sports, etc. Dale Cemetery and Sparta Cemetery are also closed, except for burials which are limited by the State's Executive Order, to very few people. You can continue to enjoy our parks and public spaces for individual activities like walking, hiking, visiting the gravesite of a loved one, or just enjoying the fresh air. Social distancing is a must! Our Food Scraps at the Cedar Lane Park drop off site is also still open. We are currently looking into options to resume residential kit sales for the Food Scraps program with an option to pick up your pre-packaged, sanitized kit curbside at Cedar Lane Arts Center. Stay tuned!
We are thrilled to see so many people practicing safe social distancing practices while enjoying the improving weather! We’re looking forward to the summer months when hopefully we can once again all hang out together again. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we make difficult decisions during this very challenging time.
I also have a message to share from our Highway Superintendent, Pete Connolly. Please only flush toilet paper down the toilet! Wipes are NOT flushable -- yes that also includes the wipes that are commonly labeled as "flushable!" These items clog not only our sewer pump stations and infrastructure, but could also wreak havoc on your home's waste lines and pipes. That is a mess none of us want to deal with right now. Thank you for your cooperation, your Highway Department thanks you!
Our Ossining Community always rises to the occasion and we’re proud to say a global pandemic has not been an exception. Feeding Westchester and Gullotta House are distributing meals at sites around Ossining. We will continue to provide updates on the dates, times, and locations of the Feeding Westchester drives -- huge thanks to the Village of Ossining for helping to coordinate this effort! Please refer to the Gullotta House website to donate and view the food giveaway dates they are sponsoring. Our beloved restaurants are trying to adapt to these new challenges – and we appreciate their efforts. Below is a list of restaurants still open for take out/delivery, though we ask that you check their websites and Facebook pages to confirm their hours. If you know a senior or isolated person/family in need of food or supplies please contact us and we will do our best to help coordinate needed materials for them. Also, we continue to provide nutritious meals to homebound seniors – call our Senior Nutrition Program at (914) 762-1350 to sign up. Seniors can also receive daily RUOK calls from our program staff, again, just call (914) 762-1350 to sign up. Please also share this information with any of your neighbors, friends, or family that may greatly benefit from these services.
After a couple of weeks of basically no fun announcements, we are excited to share some virtual events and community resources emerging in Ossining this week!
The Ossining Public Library has curated a mind-blowing list of events, concerts, music, kids story time readings, museum tours. You can even still check out eBooks, Audiobooks, TV shows, and movies from OPL remotely. Check out the list and their other resources here! Much love to our dedicated Library Staff for this work.
The Ossining CAP is collecting school supplies for students who may be in need, now that they are learning remotely. Please be generous, if you can.
Sing Sing Kill Brewery is hosting a Virtual Happy Hour with Matt & Eric TONIGHT at 6pm via Facebook Live. The owners of SSKB will talk about their process in opening up a NY Farm Brewery in the lower Hudson Valley, and answer viewers' questions!
Many local businesses are also offering some of their services or programs virtually. Here are just a few we have learned about recently. In addition to those listed below, our friends at UMAC Briarcliff on North State Road have also been offering classes via Zoom. Check out their Facebook page for more information! If you are a small business that would like to share your new virtual offerings, please let us know. Hopefully, through these virtual connections we can start to feel like we have reached some version of normal.
You may have heard that certain internal restrictions were enacted in Census offices to protect workers, but US Census has not been postponed and many of you might have received your invitation to participate within the past week. If you haven’t received this information, you will be able to respond to the Census online, by phone in one of 13 languages, or by mail. Census data directly affect how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation, and much more. That's more than $4 trillion over a 10-year period. Spending just a few minutes to fill out your census form will help ensure Ossining gets its fair share of federal and state funding. We have been informed by Westchester County that local field offices for the US Census have been closed for the next two weeks. For more information, visit the Ossining Counts page.
The deadline to submit a request for an Absentee Ballot is April 3rd. Upcoming elections for New York State Residents include the Democratic Presidential Primary election date on April 28th and Congressional and Local primaries on June 23rd. So far, we have not heard of any changes to these dates. We hope we can all go to the polls those days, but absentee ballots can be used to vote by mail for all. Residents are permitted to request a ballot under the “temporary illness or disability” allowance.
If you feel you have developed flu-like symptoms please call your medical provider or a hospital before appearing for testing. Mobile testing centers are by-appointment-only and must be scheduled through the hotline. If you have trouble breathing (including bluish fingertips or lips) or chest pains call 911 immediately. As a reminder, most cases of Coronavirus do not present with severe symptoms. For questions regarding COVID-19, please call the New York State Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065 or dial 211 for information. The CDC website is an excellent resource for information. As a reminder, please refer only to official sources of information to avoid the dangerous effects of misinformation at this crucial point.
- Last Updated: 27 March 2020 27 March 2020
Please see below the update and download documents from SBA regarding the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to send to your networks and contacts. We have heard that the webpage for SBA disaster assistance has either stalled or crashed during some application processes. SBA has advised us that since the rest of the country is also logging onto the portal, the system becomes overwhelmed, so the best times to apply online would be at either earlier in the day or later at night. However, as the EIDL applications continue to surge, SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance has provided an alternate method for applicants to submit and upload forms while the application portal is down for maintenance.
Here’s the link to the new application page with instructions for uploading documents: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html.
IMPORTANT: You may have to clear your browser cache if you receive an error accessing this page.
Some notes to help folks with the application:
The SBA is advising businesses to fill out the PDF forms and reach out to SBDC if they need assistance with compiling the financial information. They may request assistance with the application at www.nyssdbc.org to make an online request.
In addition to the attached forms, applicants will also need to submit the most recently filed tax returns for the business and all owners of the business or a justification if not available. Sole proprietors are required to complete the 5C loan application form. All other businesses should fill out the form 5 business loan application.
Notes on filling out the forms:
- On all forms “Damaged Property” simply refers to your primary location for the operations of the business.
- On Form 5, skip box 15, this only applies to property damage loans.
- There is no specific location to input a requested loan amount. The loan amount is determined by the supporting documents and any other relevant financial information provided that substantiates the economic injury.
- All owners with 20% or greater ownership in the business must be included in the application.
- Last Updated: 25 March 2020 25 March 2020
Pursuant to Governor Andrew Cuomo's "New York State on PAUSE" Executive Order, beginning Sunday, March 22, at 8 p.m., all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions.
Essential businesses or entities, are not subject to the in-person restriction, though they must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the New York State Department of Health.
“Essential Business,” means:
- Last Updated: 27 March 2020 27 March 2020
News of COVID-19 continues to dominate the news, this week we learned that Ossining has its first confirmed cases of the virus. As we begin to see growing positive cases, and unfortunately deaths, my thoughts are constantly with the families impacted by this virus. Of course, in addition to the spread of this disease happening rapidly, one of the main reasons we have been seeing increased numbers of positive cases is that testing has increased across the State so maybe those who weren't previously identified as positive, now are. This has certainly been an extremely challenging time for not just our own community, but also our state, country, and even the world as a whole. We know that the best way to protect yourself and your neighbors is to practice social distancing and avoid communal surfaces, as well as communal gatherings.
We have been coordinating with State and County officials to address our needs in the community. I have been encouraged by Governor Cuomo and County Executive Latimer’s leadership at this time as they make sound, yet difficult, policy decisions to attempt to contain the spread of this virus. Policies, mandates, and guidance from our State and County partners have been changing by the day, and sometimes even by the hour, as they continue to assess the developing situation and determine what steps need to be taken in response. As you read the rest of my update, please bear in mind that this is an evolving situation and I am doing my best along with my staff to provide the most accurate and most current information as possible. I encourage you to sign up for updates from New York State so you can remain informed with up to date and accurate information. Also, what is published by the State provides Spanish translation resources. As of this afternoon, the latest directive from Governor Cuomo is that all businesses and non-profits reduce their in-person, non-essential workforce to zero and no in person, non-essential gatherings of any size be held. We also learned that evictions for commercial and residential properties are prohibited for 90 days. We are still waiting for the Executive Order relating to today's press conference to be released in writing, at which point we will hopefully have a better understanding about what exactly this means for our community.
The latest guidance we have received regarding municipal staff, is that we should decrease our in-person, workforce to 50% or less. To that end, I have been working closely with our Department Heads to coordinate work from home arrangements or staggered schedules in most Town Departments to ensure the highest degree of safety and security for our staff as possible. Additionally, earlier this week, we announced in collaboration with our partners in the Village of Ossining that all Town and Village offices closed to the public effective this past Tuesday, March 17.
However, even if we aren’t in our usual work locations, or you can’t visit us in person – we are still very much here for you! All offices, with the exception of the Justice Court, remain fully operational. There are many services that are now available online, including dog license renewals, tax payments, FOIL requests, assessment records, and your garbage/recycling schedule (if you live in the unincorporated Town you can even download an app that lets you check your schedule daily on your phone, specific to your address!). If we do not already have a remote solution set up for a specific function, each Department is ready, willing, and able to find a solution to provide all services either via mail, e-mail, or over the phone. Contact information for each department is available on each individual department's page of the Town website. Even though we have experienced changes in our staffing levels at our offices, rest assured, we continue to be available via phone and e-mail. If you have any difficulty contacting a Town department, please contact the Town Supervisor’s office at (914) 762-6001. We are in the process of re-focusing our COVID-19 Resources page to be a dedicated space for residents to access up to date status of Town services, so you can remain informed in real time.
Next Tuesday will be a first for the Town of Ossining, as we have scheduled our first video conferenced Town Board Meeting. This method for public meetings was recently authorized by Governor Cuomo in an Executive Order temporarily modifying laws governing meetings of public bodies in an effort to reduce in-person meetings that could cause the virus to spread. Members of the public will be able to view the meeting live online, or listen by telephone if they choose. Please visit the meeting notice for specific information about how to join. Please note that if you do choose to join via phone to listen in, the host, participants, and attendees will be able to view your telephone number. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the Town's YouTube page later next week.