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Tompkins County Officials Hold Town Hall, Discussing Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, Racial Injustices

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Tompkins County Officials Hold Town Hall, Discussing Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, Racial Injustices

Friday, June 5, 2020

Tompkins County Officials Hold Town Hall, Discussing Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, Racial Injustices

(Ithaca, NY) – Tompkins County officials held a live-streamed weekly town hall on Thursday evening, and shared updates on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and responded to racial injustices, including the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. The town hall is archived on YouTube .

Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Leslyn McBean-Clairborne began the town hall stating, “The killing of George Floyd has set off conflict and conversation in our communities, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back ... Mr. Floyd did not deserve to die.” McBean-Clairborne referenced recent actions taken by the Tompkins County Legislature, Office of Human Rights, and Sheriff’s Office, stating that she expects there to be “education and interruption of racism, in our own County Government and in our communities.”

County Administrator Jason Molino stated, “We’ve seen our community come together to solve problems and support each other, and there is urgency to use what we have learned (from COVID-19) to address racism in our community. This will require dialogue and action from all of us.”

Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “It’s important to remember [while] we are still in a pandemic and we’re taking a methodical approach to stopping the disease, sometimes things are bigger than that. This is one of those moments where what is happening in our community and across the country is bigger than (COVID-19). We still need people to take the precautions, we want protestors to be safe while doing what you need to do to make your voice heard.”

Kruppa provided updates on COVID-19 in Tompkins County, sharing that the current spread of the disease remains low, with 163 total positive cases in Tompkins County and 21 active cases as of Thursday afternoon. Kruppa reminded the public that mask-wearing and social distancing are still foundational to stopping the spread as the community reopens.

This week, Tompkins County began sending posters to all businesses and organizations that have affirmed to New York State safety guidelines. Affirmed businesses can fill out the poster with details relevant to their operations, customers, and employees. A sample of the poster and references for businesses to complete their copy can be found on Tompkins County’s Moving Forward web page.

Recent COVID-19 related New York State announcements include:

Summer day camps statewide can open on June 29, and a decision on sleep-away camps will be made in the coming weeks.

Tompkins County Youth Services has launched a summer planning task force, follow their web page for local updates.

The state is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include any individual who attended recent protests.

Schools will be permitted to hold drive-in and drive-through graduation ceremonies this year; the Department of Health released interim guidance for these ceremonies.

Phase two workers can get tested but are not required to (exception for barber shop/salons, and nursing home staff).

Outdoor dining at restaurants is allowed with restrictions including outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

Yard sales are allowed with restrictions including the wearing of face coverings and distancing of six feet between individuals, gatherings should not exceed 10 people at any given time.

Movement to phase three will include another analysis of COVID-19 metrics by health experts, review is expected later in the week of June 8th. Phase three includes further operations of restaurants and food services.

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