Restaurants are set to offer indoor dining and personal care businesses are preparing to open and adapt to new requirements on Tuesday June 23 when Putnam County is expected to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening schedule.
“Since the very beginning of the pandemic, Putnam County has worked as a team to support Main Street businesses and to help them endure,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said. “Now we are taking a team approach to help businesses develop reopening plans that will help them thrive, keep our communities safe and encourage residents and visitors to shop Putnam.”
In addition to Odell, the county Legislature and the Department of Health, the team includes several local business agencies. Deputy County Executive Thomas Feighery will interface with The Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC) to help businesses through this transition.
The PCEDC’S new Small Business Advisory Committee offers a forum for small business owners to share concerns and ideas. The Putnam County Business Council and the county’s Industrial Development Agency are all on board, too, offering guidance, adaptable plans and Zoom webinars to help businesses navigate the new landscape.
“The best thing that the businesses can do in advance of reopening is make a plan and be prepared,” said Kathleen Abels, President of PCEDC. “We can help with that. There are several new steps required and plenty of new guidelines to follow, so knowing in advance what you need to do is important. Business owners should check our website at putnamedc.org and contact us with questions.”
Phase 3, which includes reopening for nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses, in addition to indoor dining for food service establishments, is scheduled to begin June 23 as long as the coronavirus infection rate in the Mid-Hudson region does not increase.
Among the requirements for indoor restaurant seating are a maximum occupancy of 50 percent, not including staff, and tables placed six feet apart.
Tourism Director Tracey Walsh, whose work showcases all the venues that the county offers its residents, is an essential part of the team.
“Putnam residents are in a sweet spot,” Walsh said. “Their home county offers the kinds of activities that people everywhere now crave: safe, responsible, outdoor fun. With plenty of hiking, biking, golf, tennis and stunning natural beauty, the county is a great spot for residents to relax and take a staycation. It’s a good time to eat at your local restaurants, shop in your neighborhood stores and support your Main Street businesses.”
The Putnam County Health Department, which led the way and helped curb the spread of coronavirus in our region, is part of the team and will continue to play a key role in preventing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Putnam began reopening on May 26 when construction, manufacturing, curbside retail, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting began. Phase 2 went into effect on June 9 and included Outdoor Dining, Professional Services (including hair salons & barbershops), Retail, Admin Support and Real Estate/Rental & Leasing.
O’Dell said Putnam’s progress will depend on residents ongoing use of good judgment.
“We must all use common sense,” Odell said. “We must continue to exercise social distancing, wear masks and other PPE and wash our hands thoroughly and often. Anything less could increase local coronavirus numbers and lead to another PAUSE, and that’s the last thing any of us want.”