Millerton Business Alliance conducts survey: Millerton businesses share plans for reopening
MILLERTON — With the state gradually reopening its economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that forced a state-wide shutdown in March, businesses in the Millerton-North East region were asked to share their plans for reopening via a Millerton Business Alliance (MBA) survey.
In an email sent out to local businesses on Monday, May 4, MBA Executive Committee members Thorunn Kristjansdottir, Bob Murphy, Dana Rohn, Dick Hermans and Jeanne Vanecko explained that Millerton Mayor Debbie Middlebrook had asked for a survey to determine what plans businesses have for reopening “as New York moves in that direction after May 15,” an early date Governor Andrew Cuomo set for the expiration of the New York on PAUSE Executive Order, which closed non-essential businesses and schools in the state.
For local retail businesses, the main question focused on whether they are ready to reopen and what their plans are to ensure social distancing and customer safety. The survey also asked local restaurants to consider whether they will continue take-out service and whether they envision outdoor seating if it becomes permissible.
Hermans said, “I think what we’re looking for is to see where we’re at. It’s more or less ‘we’re doing this and that’ and ‘whenever we can reopen, we will reopen.’”
Just a few days later, the MBA Executive Committee received more than a dozen responses. Though their thoughts on reopening varied, the large majority of responses shared the measures they intend to take to keep customers safe.
Oakhurst Diner manager Clare Caramanica wrote that since Connecticut will be allowing outdoor dining as of Wednesday, May 20, she felt her business will suffer if New York doesn’t allow outdoor dining as well. Already equipped with tentative guidelines for how restaurants can reopen, she said she will need to “double staff to make sure my staff doesn’t slip up and make any mistakes so we don’t get sick.” However, Caramanica also expressed her concerns about customers practicing social distancing once the diner reopens its dining room.
“I’m not a doctor or a scientist,” Caramanica wrote, “but if we continue to get as busy as we were yesterday [Sunday, May 3, with take-out] with customers obviously not wearing masks to eat, it will very quickly spread COVID through Millerton.”
Located at 20 Main St., Charlotte Merwin, owner of Merwin Farm & Home, said she planned to reopen on Friday, May 15. As a way of ensuring the safety of her employees and customers, Merwin shared her plans to supply gloves and sanitizer at the door and to only allow four to five customers inside at a time. Masks will also be a requirement. Merwin said she plans to offer curbside pick-up.
While movie theaters in the U.S. announced a tentative reopening date of Friday, July 17, Carol Sadlon, co-founder and co-owner of The Moviehouse, wrote that “This is not necessarily what The Moviehouse will adhere to.” However, she did note there will be rigorous protocols in place that she will share with the MBA Executive Committee once adopted.
One response that caught the committee’s attention came from Mimi Ramos, one of the three business owners in the collective retail space located at 41 Main St. Ramos reported that all three businesses — Camp, Borrowed Nostalgia and Millerton Made — have been told to “move out of our space at the former Saperstein’s building due to the fact that the owner says he has a potential grocery store moving in.”
Responding to an email for more information from The Millerton News, building owner James Hendrick responded that “nothing is set in stone,” but didn’t confirm or deny the possibility of a new grocery store.
Irving Farm coffee house reopened on Friday, May 15. To ensure everyone’s safety, all staff will be wearing masks and customers will be allowed in the store one at a time and only if they are wearing masks. Irving Farm reported that its service area has been reduced to the immediate front door area.
Oblong Books & Music has been doing curbside service to make up for lost business during the pandemic, as well as some home delivery and mail orders. But it has not yet laid out a reopening plan, according to Hermans, store co-owner.
Betsy Trotta, owner of both Elizabeth’s Jewelry and Trotta’s Wine and Spirits, responded that masks will be required for all customers and (should the stores obtain more hand sanitizer) customers will be asked to use hand sanitizer upon entering, as will employees. Additionally, only three customers will be allowed in the businesses at a time and sneeze guards will be placed at the registers.
William J. Cole Agency wrote that the while the insurance agency has been open throughout the pandemic, no customers have been allowed in the office. Plans for reopening the agency will be looked at for June 1.
Gilded Moon Framing shared its plans for opening with curbside pick up and delivery for its customers; it’s been using virtual design methods. Appointments will be scheduled and only one customer will be allowed in the shop at a time. While the store has decided not to install plexiglass barriers, masks and gloves will be required for both customers and staff.
“As of now, I plan on remaining the way I have been operating,” Stacey Moore of Moore & More Printing wrote. “Closed to walk ins or sit downs through Memorial Day.”
Moving forward, Moore wrote that pick up and deliveries will be conducted from the front porch of the business at 17 Dutchess Ave., and any work can either be coordinated via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 518-789-4508. She added her employees are “being paid to stay home and safe.”
Roz Roney-Dougal of White Horse Collection wrote for now, she’s not considering reopening before the first week of June.
As of Friday, May 15, Ledgewood Kennel reported it will open for grooming, boarding, daycare and training on Friday, May 15, and open its K9 Aqua Sports Club with outside social distancing soon thereafter.
Bob Murphy, owner of the Millerton Antiques Center, reported that the store is working toward reopening on Monday, June 1. In addition to installing Plexiglas at the checkout counter, social distancing will be implemented and customers and employees must wear masks.
Supplying the MBA Executive Committee with an outline for reopening that the Hudson Valley Restaurant Group plans to present to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Eleanor Nurzia, owner of 52 Main, said she plans to adapt to as much of the plan as she’s able once businesses such as restaurants and movie theaters are permitted to reopen. At this time, she said reopening 52 Main might take place somewhere between the beginning to the middle of June.
“I pray the numbers allow us the ability to open sooner, but we will deal with reality,” Nurzia wrote. “The restaurant guidelines will be difficult to enforce. We will do our best.”
As a new addition to the village business district, Joshua Smith wrote about his new space at 50 Main St., responded that he’s “going to keep my space mostly just my design studio for now [with] no community events or group workshops or meditations.” For those who might want to stop by his studio, Smith said all visitors will need masks and the number of guests will be limited.