BREWSTER, NY— Phase III in Putnam and the Mid-Hudson region is upon us. The region is moving forward after 14 days of meeting the benchmark numbers required in current phase. As this stage gets into full swing residents can expect inside dining, larger gatherings, and personal care businesses coming back with some specified restrictions. Personal care businesses, beyond hair-related businesses, now will include tanning and nail salons, spas, massage therapy, and tattoo and piercing facilities. Along with inside dining, these new services will limit capacity to optimize social or physical distancing. Both will also require mask wearing by patrons and employees. These two practices, in addition to proper handwashing, remain the best avenues for public protection in all situations.
“We are happy to continue to move toward a more fully open economy,” said MaryEllen Odell, County Executive. “Our calculated approach to watching our health measures, combined with the ingenuity, patience and commitment of our business community, has really paid off for us. We continue to move forward in the right direction.”
The size of permissible gatherings has been increased from 10 to 25 which is good news for families planning reunions and other events, as well as small-party planners. For restaurants and personal care establishments however, which are expanding services or re-opening, the requirements dictate that indoor capacity be limited by 50 percent.
“The reductions in capacities have been determined with one goal in mind—to best protect both customers and employees,” said Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Commissioner of Health. “Much planning and thought has gone into this phased opening and graduated guidelines at the state level. This is why Putnam and the Mid-Hudson region continue to move forward successfully. We are truly grateful for the support our Putnam businesses and community organizations have shown in implementing these involved guidelines.”
Employees of both types of establishments will be required to wear masks at all times when working. This is especially important any time they interact with customers, even if they are 6 feet or more apart. Restaurants can lose their liquor licenses if social distance requirements are not met. If patrons notice a lapse in social distancing practices while dining and feel uncomfortable, they are encouraged to consider politely informing the facility management. Making a complaint through official channels is also an option online at www.coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-pause.
Customers are required to wear masks as well. Once seated at a table in a restaurant however, patrons can remove their masks to eat, similar to the requirements with outdoor dining. In the personal care sector, some services may also necessitate clients remove their masks. Staff will direct customers by following current state-approved guidelines. Modified schedules and services may be in place and calling ahead is advised. Reservations are encouraged so that businesses can be more prepared.
Other requirements have been developed to best ensure workers are healthy and remain that way. Restaurants are charged with conducting daily health screenings of their employees. This will include such things as temperature checks and questionnaires about symptoms, and for personal care workers COVID-19 tests will be required every 14 days.
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 at www.putnamcountyny.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.