BREWSTER, NY— COVID vaccines are offering hope: an end is in sight for this very difficult and challenging year. But science alone will not address the hardships faced by so many. The local health and business community, along with Putnam residents, has been and continues to collaborate in a supreme group effort to push back this virus. Now the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Putnam County Tourism are heralding local businesses and their continuing efforts to stop the spread.
“It’s requiring support from all sectors, and our business community has been resourceful and committed from the very beginning,” says Kathleen Abels, president of Putnam County’s EDC. “Our local businesses have been hard hit, there is no doubt about this. But all realize that their successes are dependent upon the health of the community—particularly staff and customers. This has often meant re-inventing their work to comply with New York State COVID-19 guidance.”
“It is important that we recognize these businesses for stepping up and working hard to adapt and survive,” added Tracey Walsh, director of Putnam County Tourism, who is partnering closely with Ms. Abels. They will be making positive signage available to businesses to affirm their commitment to help stop the spread by operating in accordance with New York State COVID-19 guidance.
One technically innovative creation comes from Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, where a new device, carried throughout the museum by patrons, is being used to take the guesswork out of social distancing. This device works by using radio waves to measure and maintain safe distances between visitors. The museum is the first in the county to utilize this “active tag,” that is used in concert with contactless ticket exchange, mandatory online reservations, sanitation stations, temperature checks and other safety measures, as the museum director helps reshape how public spaces function.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell applauded the museum and other local businesses and their leadership for perseverance and ingenuity. “We have a dedicated, hardworking business community. As we all have struggled as individuals, they too have faced difficult challenges, struggling to sustain their livelihoods. We have worked together and come very far. The good news is we now can envision an end to these times and a brighter future in the new year.” Other local technology and customer-service improvements include a widening usage of mobile app ordering and curbside pick-up, previously used by select establishments.
Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health at the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) also praised the business community noting that, “These times have been extraordinarily tough for all of us—from our school-aged children to our seniors and everyone in-between. When thinking of our path forward, it is important to remember the strength and determination of our business community. The owners and staff in our local businesses, whose industry and living has been so affected, continue to show up, mask up, and persevere. Together we have made progress, and this could not have happened without business support of the NYSDOH directives.”
“Putnam business leaders are striving to do their part—not just to comply with mandatory guidance—but also to support one another by sharing best practices and cross-promoting the diverse range of businesses we have in our county,” said Jennifer Maher, chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council, who has also been collaborating as part of the county’s business leadership corps.
Shawn Rogan, director of environmental health services at the PCDOH, who ultimately oversees the department’s restaurant licensing program, has also witnessed firsthand the work of this industry over the past ten months. “I can attest to the extraordinary labors of both the food establishment owners and staff alike,” said Mr. Rogan. “It has been a monumental test of determination and resolve for these entities. It is something I am sure echoes throughout the entire business community.”
“In the end we all want the same things—that really sums it up,” said Deputy County Executive Tom Feighery. “We want healthy and safe residents and a healthy and thriving business community. These go hand in hand. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how you can have one without the other.”
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services, provided directly and through collaboration, include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our county website atwww.putnamcountyny.gov; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.