We have spent significant time this week coordinating with officials at the County and State level to help address the growing concerns of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As I am sure many of you are aware, on Saturday, March 7 Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency and began a series of week-long conferences to provide updates on the status of the virus. As of this email we want to assure residents that we have not yet been informed of any positive cases for any residents of the Town of Ossining. We ask you to continue to make your best efforts to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the virus. The Town and County have each dedicated a section of their website to current Coronavirus information. The CDC website also continues to be a good resource. We ask that you please refer only to official sources of information to prevent unnecessary fear and panic. As a reminder, if you feel you have developed flu-like symptoms please call your medical provider or a hospital before appearing for testing. For questions regarding COVID-19, please call the New York State Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065 or dial 211 for information.
We understand the Coronavirus has placed a strain on many. We are making every effort to keep disruption to a minimum while balancing the health of our residents. We continue to be impressed by people attempting to help during this process. Our local not-for-profits and faith based organizations have been working around the clock, coordinating with both the Village and Town of Ossining, to collaborate on efforts to provide necessary food and other resources to those in need. Con Ed is temporarily suspending any electric and gas service shutoffs involving customers having payment difficulties. Any service terminations will be limited to safety precautions such as a gas leak. Credit card companies and banks should be contacted directly by customers with questions. Unfortunately, price gouging has been reported in the state. To report price gouging on any items (including cleaning supplies, toilet paper, or soap) please call the New York State Department of Consumer Protection. They have launched a toll-free hotline 1-800-697-1220 and will investigate. Additionally, we ask our residents to please consider the impact of social isolation on seniors. Though it may seem like a small effort, Facetime and phone calls can go a long way. Avoid visiting in person, as you may be exposing them to the virus even if you are asymptomatic. Most importantly, bear in mind that Westchester County and Ossining are wonderful tapestries of people from many different backgrounds, religions, and languages. Events like this outbreak can cause stress and anxiety which can lead to biases against those of specific ethnicities or countries of origin, or religious background. Please remember that we are all co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, fellow community members, and be kind to one another. We are all in this together!
Due to these rapidly escalating concerns, the Village of Ossining announced that all Village buildings will be deep cleaned in the coming days. To facilitate this, the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center will be closed on Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16. Consequently, all Ossining Village Recreation classes, lap swim, activities, and events are also canceled on those days. The Cedar Lane Arts Center will also be closed on those days for cleaning. The collection site for the Food Scraps Recycling program will remain open, but kits will not be available for purchase on Monday.
We have been working with our department heads to ensure continuity of Town services, given the strain this situation has put on our staff and constituents. Please stay tuned for updates early next week about potential changes in public access to Town offices. In the meantime, online services always remain available for public use, 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!). We are also happy to work with you via e-mail or over the phone. Contact information for each department is available on each individual department's page of the Town website. We encourage everyone to consider reaching out via phone or e-mail prior to visiting our offices.
Meanwhile, we do have to continue as best as possible with business as usual. The US Census is expected to arrive any day now. By April 1, 2020 all homes will have received instructions for responding to the 2020 Census. You will be able to respond to the Census online, by phone in one of 13 languages, or by mail. Start checking your mailbox, and follow the instructions to respond for your household. For more information, visit the Ossining Counts page. 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.
Tax preparation help is still available at the Ossining Public Library, as of Friday afternoon, March 13. We ask that you review the OPL online calendar for information and potential cancellation. Here are the details of the program:
We are also looking towards summer! Ossining Summer Camp registration has begun - check out the Village of Ossining Recreation online catalog. The Recreation Program's annual Summer Camp is an Ossining favorite with something fun for kids ages 3- 14.
Several of the events we shared over the past few weeks in these updates have been postponed or cancelled. We encourage everyone to check with the organizations and businesses individually for current information about the status of the events. If you would like to continue to support an organization or business, we recommend reaching out to them by phone or social media to see how to best support them at this time. If you are a small business owner, we direct you to the Small Business Association website for guidelines on continuing operations.
Ossining schools will be closed to all students throughout the weekend and on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. This includes all school activities, athletic practices, and competitions. The schools will be open on March 16th for staff only to continue preparing an extended closure and all schools and offices will be closed on Tuesday, March 17. Las escuelas de Ossining estarán cerradas para los estudiantes durante todo el fin de semana, el lunes 16 de marzo y el martes 17 de marzo. Esto incluye todas las actividades escolares, prácticas y competencias deportivas. Las escuelas estarán abiertas el 16 de marzo para el personal únicamente, con el fin de continuar preparando un cierre prolongado.
News got you down? Here are some pictures of our adorable new friends available for adoption at the Briarcliff SPCA. These puppers are ready for loving families and their forever homes. For more info about these four or any of the other fur-babies available, visit their website.
Green Ossining’s 10th Annual Earth Day Festival remains on our calendars at this time! Scheduled for Saturday, April 25 from 10am to 5pm, Chair Suzie Ross and her team have an excellent day planned, filled with musical performances, local food and craft beer, artisan vendors and more. We’re crossing our fingers that this wonderful FREE event will continue to take place to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nationwide Earth Day holiday. But, there is a very real chance it will need to be postponed, so please stay tuned for more information on the Green Ossining Facebook page and on our Town webpage and in these updates too.