County Office Building reopens--but call ahead


By Patsy Nicosia

Schoharie County reopened its office buildings Monday—but call first and wear a mask.
The first step towards normal comes three months after offices were closed in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Access will be limited, Supervisors’ chair Bill Federice said, and those who won’t follow the rules won’t be allowed in.
“We don’t expect problems, but keeping our employees safe is our number one concern,” Mr. Federice said Friday.
“No mask, no entry.”
The county’s COVID-19 Task Force worked with the Health Department and department heads in coming up with the plan to safely open the building, Mr. Federice said.
Under the plan:
• Building access will be limited with only those who’ve made an appointment allowed in.
• Visitors will be screened at a reception desk (see below) and logs kept.
• A mask or face covering is required for access.
• Hand-sanitizing stations will be readily available with everyone expected to use them when entering and leaving the building.
• Visitors will be escorted to their destination.
• The Department of Motor Vehicles remains closed until Governor Andrew Cuomo gives the go-ahead; appointments will be required once it reopens, possibly June 28.
Mr. Federice said one of the key pieces of the reopening plan will be a reception desk at the County Office Building entrance where visitors will have their temperatures taken and be asked a few health-screening questions.
Disposable masks will also be available for those who don’t bring their own.
To start, the desk will be staffed by members of the Task Force and department heads; Mr. Federice will be pulling shifts as well.
After that, county employees will take over the job.
“Why? Because I think it’s important that we show our employees that we aren’t asking them to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves,” Mr. Federice said.
“I don’t want anyone to have any concerns.”
In individual offices, modifications have been made to separate staff from the public, protective equipment including masks and hand sanitizer is being made available, and deep-cleaning and disinfection will continue, and each department will have a health screening process for employees at the start and end of the day.

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To date, there have been 54 positive cases of COVID-19 and one death recorded in Schoharie County.
All of upstate New York moved into Phase 2 Friday, allowing restaurants to resume indoor dining; public pools can open—leading local communities to reconsider their plans not to open theirs—and while kids’ day camps are not allowed to open, overnight camps remain closed.
“Before, we were in crisis mode, Mr. Federice said. “Now we’re in recovery.
“It’s no accident that our numbers are low. I think we’ve been doing an exceptional job. But we’ve all been warned there could be a second wave coming. We need to keep paying attention and following the rules.”