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Millerton is showing signs of a strong recovery

The Millerton News Editorial

COVID-19 hit New York hard, along with the rest of the country and the world. That includes those of us living right here in northeastern Dutchess County. 

Since the pandemic was declared last March, a cumulative 29,320 positive confirmed cases have been reported in Dutchess County and 444 fatalities have been caused by or related to COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health, as of Monday, May 24. 

Throughout the U.S., coronavirus numbers are now reflecting the progress we’ve made in battling the disease, through a combination of vaccinations, mask wearing, social distancing and scrupulous personal hygiene routines. 

In the past seven days, as of Saturday, May 22, www.worldometers.info reported a 22% drop in the weekly trend of COVID cases in the U.S., with 192,090 cases reported on the 22nd versus 245,211 cases reported in the seven days prior. 

Worldwide, it reported 4,291,781 cases last Saturday versus 4,992,883 the week before, reflecting a 14% drop. Again, signs of progress.

Cases are likewise dipping in Dutchess County, with just 10 COVID hospitalizations reported by the three county hospitals as of the 24th and 245 confirmed cases currently being monitored by the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH). 

Improvements in community health have led to gains elsewhere. On Monday, May 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance stating it’s OK for fully vaccinated individuals to stop wearing face masks both outdoors and indoors and without social distancing. That was encouraging, as throughout the past 15 months, local residents have tried their best to remain loyal and support area businesses however they could. We’ve seen shining examples of that right here in Millerton. 

Since last March, village residents and those in the business community have been ordering take-out and delivery from eateries forced to shut their dining rooms so they could continue to operate; folks have been streaming movies and other entertainment services online to support The Moviehouse; they’ve made Zoom appointments with their yoga, pilates and other fitness instructors to keep them working; they’ve been ordering books, CDs and other unique items from Oblong Books & Music and picking them up curbside rather than from Amazon, for the same reason; they’ve been ordering baked goods from Rookie Farm Bakery and coffee from Irving Farm Coffee House and The Dig, grabbing their items curbside; and readers have been continuing to subscribe to The Millerton News and The Lakeville Journal, in print and at www.tricornernews.com, to stay on top of local news while continuing to support community journalism. People in this area have done what they could to support the local community, because, hey, they are the local community. We all are.

Yes, many people saw their hours cut or lost their jobs entirely while others lost businesses they had worked their whole lives to build. We are so sorry for those who did — we know it hasn’t been easy. Hopefully those who struggled received federal support intended to ease the burden of the COVID crisis through PPP loans or some other means of financial aid, because that’s exactly what such relief was intended to do.

The good news, though, the gleaming light at the end of what has been a dim tunnel, is that things are starting to return to normal. Millerton, for one, is beginning to look much as it once did. 

This Memorial Day, Main Street will be booming, with The Moviehouse opening its doors for the first time in almost a year and a half after the pandemic forced it shut. It’s also changed hands. Now, under new ownership, it will celebrate a new era with a new look inside. (Make sure to read this week’s front page to learn more.)

Also in Millerton this holiday weekend, the Irondale Schoolhouse, a historic local gem, will be welcoming families for the first time in more than a year as it opens for its summer season on Saturday, May 29, at 11 a.m. A very excited schoolhouse association President Ralph Fedele will be on hand to let children ring the bell of the 1858 one-room schoolhouse (for more, read this week’s article on Page A2).

Then there are the thriving businesses in Millerton, like the new Candy-O’s at 28 Main St., as well as Millerton Wine & Spirits, which opened up last November after Little Gates Wine Shop closed in the same location at 34 Main St. The new wine shop has been making a great success of it. Also, Westerlind, at 41 Main St. (the former Saperstein’s), opened Westerlind Food Pantry last September to fill the void of a local grocery market, offering unique, high-quality gourmet items for villagers who don’t want to travel far when they have a sudden craving for something tasty.

These are all positive signs that our Harlem Valley towns and villages are slowly reawakening after the pandemic. We are now coming out on the other side, hopefully in one piece, ready to support one another in any way we can. 

Let’s show each other that support, that solidarity, as we all know how to do so well. 

Once you feel up to it, try to get out into your community and support your fellow businessmen and women, your local organizations and your local towns and villages. They — you — we — will all be stronger for it.

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