County Executive Hosts Latest COVID-19
Virtual Town Hall Forum

Poughkeepsie, NY … This afternoon, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted the latest in his series of weekly virtual Town Hall Forums, providing residents with the latest local updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and other county topics, as well as answering questions during the online Facebook LIVE forum.

Today’s forum and previous events are available on the Dutchess County Government YouTube page

Among the highlight of today’s conversation: 

  • County Executive Molinaro updated residents on the most current data posted on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard
    • 4,944 total confirmed cases 
    • 144,433 tests completed 
    • 253 active cases 
    • 6 hospitalizations 
    • 153 deaths 
    • 4,538 recoveries 
    • 1% infection rate 
  • The State recently released new guidance for casinos/video lottery terminal facilities and updated its Phase Three guidance for Personal Care Services:
    • Casinos and video lottery terminal facilities will be allowed to reopen starting today with a 25 percent occupancy limit and strict safety protocols and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Casinos must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open.
    • The Phase Three guidance for Personal Care Services now allows services such as face massage, facials, face waxing around lip or nose areas, face tattoos, facial makeup, cosmetic lip tattooing, lip or nose piercings, beard trimming or shaves that require a customer to remove their face covering, provided the employee is wearing a face shield in addition to their face covering. The new guidance also requires employees to be tested for COVID-19 at least once on or after September 3rd and receive a negative result before performing such services.
  • The County Executive updated residents on the progress of schools re-opening across the county. The State continues to monitor colleges closely, including launching a new SUNY COVID-19 Dashboard, which includes Dutchess Community College. Locally, Bard, Marist, and Vassar have online dashboards to monitor student and staff cases and testing. According to the State, if colleges report more than 100 cases, they must transition to remote learning.
  • As many local school districts began returning to classes this week, the County Executive reminded everyone to stay safe, vigilant, and understanding as we adjust to the new normal. The Governor recently announced a new School District COVID-19 Report Card that will report student and faculty cases. The website will be live as districts begin reporting to the State Department of Health at schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov.
  • The County Executive also reminded residents that applications for the County’s COVID-19 Childcare Relief scholarship are due by next Friday, September 18th. The fund will benefit families with school-aged children to help fill the gap between the number of days students will physically be in the classroom and those days where students will be virtually learning. Scholarships will be awarded beginning October 1st, 2020 to a random selection of eligible families with school-aged children. The Fund will cover 75 percent of tuition for each child, which will be paid directly to the facility.
  • Earlier today, County Executive Molinaro announced the County has made $430,000 in grants available to assist microenterprise businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 through a program administered by Community Capital New York (CCNY). A microenterprise is defined as a business with five or fewer employees, including the owner. The program provides grants of up to $10,000 to stabilize microenterprises and preserve low- and moderate-income jobs. Applications are now being accepted online.
  • The term “frontline worker” has been redefined as a result of COVID-19, and so many in our community have contributed to fight the pandemic. Last week, County Executive Molinaro announced Dutchess County will host a free movie event for first responders and frontline workers, “Thanks to the Heroes,” at the Overlook Drive-In in Poughkeepsie on Wednesday, September 23rd. Space is limited, and first responders, frontline workers and their families are urged to arrive early to ensure their parking space.
  • The County Executive also reminded everyone to submit nominations for the “Dutchess Frontline” Award program to honor local residents who have made an important impact in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Individuals can nominate candidates online at dutchessny.gov/dutchessfrontline.  Honorees will receive a certificate recognizing their efforts.
  • As has been Dutchess County Court Judge Peter Forman’s custom since 2002, there will be a memorial service to remember the victims of September 11th held on the steps of the Dutchess County Family Court building, 50 Market Street, Poughkeepsie at 8:30 am on Friday, September 11, 2020.   County Court Judge Peter M. Forman, Senior Court Officer Bill Shelzi and United States Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney will offer brief remarks. The service will include a ceremonial lowering of the flag and a moment of silence to recall those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  Dr. Edward Hunt, Pastor of Beth-El Missionary Baptist Church of Wappingers Falls, will lead attendees in prayer. An honor guard composed of officers of the Office of Court Administration will attend in recognition of their brethren who died during rescue efforts on September 11th.  The public is welcome and invited to attend. Attendees are reminded to maintain proper physical distancing and wear face coverings for this event.
  • Established in June, the Dutchess County Police Reform and Modernization Collaborative has been working to help every town, village and city in the county to enact broad based police reforms. To encourage public participation and provide transparency, the Collaborative will host the first of several Community Forums this Saturday, September 12th for the residents of Washington, Stanford, Pine Plains, Amenia and North East. To register for this or any of the other upcoming forums, visit DutchessNY.gov/PoliceForums. For those who cannot attend their municipality’s forum, but would still like to contribute ideas to this initiative, complete the public comment form online at DutchessNY.gov/PoliceReform.
  • The process of crafting the 2021 County Budget will be a challenge as the County faces a projected $25 million loss in Sales Tax Revenue and an anticipated $17 million decrease in State aid in 2020. The County Executive today joined U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and neighboring county executives for two press events in Beacon to call on the federal government for support. Dutchess County Government has already been working to offset losses, including accepting more than 150 applications for its Employee Retirement and Separation Incentive Program. The program, which will eliminate positions or hold them vacant, is projected to offer over $10 million in savings in 2021.

County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual discussion will take place on Monday, September 14th and will be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page. As with the County Executive’s previous 30+ virtual forums, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook.