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Washington residents prepare for the new normal

WASHINGTON — In these uncertain times, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting citizens across the world, locally, residents are being asked to make some sacrifices — and to adjust to a new and different way of living. Thus, there are many significant changes with how business is being done in the village of Millbrook and the town of Washington. The Millerton News compiled the majority of those changes for this article.

Millbrook Mayor Rodney Brown sent out an email to the community on Friday, March 13, suggesting village residents  obtain more information on the crisis on the village website, www.villageofmillbrookny.com, where there is a link to more COVID-19 data.

Brown finished his missive by stating, “Thank you, and we will get through this.”      

Village Hall was still open as of Monday, March 16, and planned to remain open until otherwise noted.

The Washington Town Board will be meeting to determine a course of action, but the town’s Recreation Department has already started to work on its website to institute changes. The Recreation Department advises checking ahead before all events as many have been canceled.

Marona’s Market reports that it intends to stay open — good news for locals who need to buy essentials. The supermarket has been extremely busy and is still getting deliveries. Its manager said they have plenty of goods on their shelves.

Three area churches notified parishioners via e-mail and/or on their websites about schedule changes and closings.  Father Bancroft, of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Church, stated that per Timothy Cardinal Dolan, all masses would be canceled as will religious instruction classes and all other activities. And on Monday, March 16, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Michael J. Deegan announced that “Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of New York have extended the closure of all elementary schools in our system through Monday, April 20.”

However, Fr. Bancroft and Fr. LaMorte confirmed they will be saying masses privately and will keep the parishioners in prayer. The holy water fonts are emptied, but holy water is dispensed near the statue of St. Joseph should a parishioner want to take some home. St. Joseph plans to open church doors every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Grace Episcopal Church held an 8 a.m. service but canceled its 10 a.m. service on Sunday, March 15. Communion bread was offered, but not wine. The service can also be found on the church website, www.gracemillbrook.org, or on YouTube. Going forward, Pastor Matt Calkins said the church will abide by the county’s recommendations of not holding gatherings with more than 20 people; the president has restricted public gatherings to no more than 10. Grace Church will have a prayer meeting on Sunday, March 22, with no communion; Calkins will be doing
Podcasts, services on YouTube and postings on the church website, as he said prayer is more vital now than ever before.

Lyall Memorial Federated Church held services on Sunday the 15th, with worshipers keeping well apart from each other. As of press time on Tuesday, March 17, the church had not determined if services will take place next Sunday. The Rev. Thomas Fiet reported that Meals on Wheels is continuing with a different serving protocol. Both of the church’s pre-k schools are closed, and while the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are suspended, Fiet is recommending one-on-one meetings in the church for AA members. As of press time, Lyall Church plans to be open every day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lyall’s Food Pantry, its Grief Circle and the 9 a.m. Quaker service on Sundays will remain intact unless further restrictive measures are taken by state or county officials or enacted through health department regulations. Fiet also said that services are live-streamed and can be seen by accessing the archives, all available on the Lyall website, www.lyallmemorial.org.

The Millbrook Library is closed until further notice with all programs suspended, but the library staff urges all patrons to avail themselves of the library’s e-resources, including e-books, digital magazines and Canopy streaming. The library’s website, www.millbrooklibrary.org, encourages residents to “check back for updates.”

Alison Meyers of the Millbrook Historical Society noted that the group has canceled its March meeting. The society’s next meeting will be announced once more is known about the outbreak and further information becomes available.

The March gathering of the Millbrook at Home senior group, which meets at St. Joseph’s Church, has been suspended. Nothing more has been determined at this time in terms of scheduling. Members of the group wish good health to all, and advise residents to follow proper hygiene procedures.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC) is closed to the public; its staff is meeting and conducting business remotely until at least April 19, and all CCEDC programs have been postponed or canceled. 4-H Youth Development Leader Jane Rodd said she hopes 4-H members will be home working with their animals and on their projects during this time period, when schools are closed and most activities canceled.

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is holding a meeting this week to decide what measures to take; check the Cary website, www.caryinstitute.org, for more information.

Checking with Green Briar Adult Home, where most of the residents are seniors and therefore at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, the adult home reported it is employing the protocols suggested by the state’s Department of Health.

At this time, local residents and business owners are working hard to get a better understanding of the situation in hopes of enacting whatever measures will be best for everyone. As per the governor’s orders, restaurants and bars are closed; some are adding curb-side service and delivery. “These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol,” according to a statement from Dutchess County government.

It is important to remember that now, especially, all local businesses need incoming revenue to stay viable while residents must balance the need to practice social distancing to stay healthy.

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