In the second virtual community meeting to discuss the process of reopening daily life in New Paltz, local officials responded to questions. How might retail stores be safely operated? Was it possible or prudent to keep out-of-town visitors away? Is there aid for those unable to pay the rent?
One online participant wondered why it was possible to shop in a wine store but not an art store. While alcohol is deemed an essential intoxicant, owners of other retail businesses are allowed to accept online orders for delivery, with restrictions. In some cases, the delivery happens to be right outside a door or window of the business.
A number of questions had to do with keeping outsiders on the outside: limiting tourists, and other county residents to the pool, for example. Town supervisor Neil Bettez confirmed that admittance to Moriello Pool, if it is opened at all, would likely be limited to locals.
Tourists are another matter. “It’s important to be able to get outside, no matter where you live,” said deputy mayor KT Tobin. Bettez said that social-distance rules should be observed at all times. Those guidelines are posted clearly throughout the community, including in recreation areas such as the rail trail. Face masks are also being handed out by elected officials and police officers, and are available at the police station at any time. They can be included in a food delivery via Food not Bombs.
When will anyone be able to get a haircut again? Some have opted to give home hair-cutting a go. Jackie Cosh, owner of Jem Hair Studio, has been working since the shutdown to reconfigure her salon’s space with new safety concerns in mind.
“I began to remodel the guest experience immediately,” she said. “I switched computer software companies in order to create a contact-less approach [which] will start with an automated text 15 minutes before the booked appointment.” That software will also allow for reservations to be made in advance, which will now be expected.
Many other changes will be implemented, said Cosh. All Jem stylists have been certified in the latest industry sanitation standards, and Cosh is watching new regulations and recommendations closely.