I hope you are looking forward to a long Memorial Day weekend. As you may have seen, the Town will not be hosting its typical parade this year. Our Memorial Day celebration is one of those truly epic Pelham events that I look forward to every year, and this will definitely feel like a loss for most of us. Fortunately, we will still be able to honor our fallen heroes. The Town of Pelham, in partnership with Pelham Post #50 and both villages, will be holding a ceremony that complies with New York’s social distancing guidelines. The ceremony is not open to the public but will be broadcast on the Town of Pelham website, and you can watch it online at www.TownofPelham.com, Monday at 12:00pm. I do hope you’ll take time with your families to tune in and celebrate those who have given their lives in service to the rest of us. Later that evening, veterans from Pelham Post #50 will join our first responders for their nightly 7pm tour through the village. Please be sure to give them the celebration they deserve.
Memorial Day is not the only event we have to look forward to this weekend. On Sunday, May 24th, you’ll have an opportunity to support a whole bunch of our local businesses all at once. The Pelham Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Farmer’s Market from 11:00am - 3:00pm in the parking lot of The Local Branch (200 Fifth Avenue). My sincerest thanks to Amy Cole, Clay Bushong, The Local Branch and all those who have come together to create this opportunity. Bring a mask--and some money--and let’s all support the effort.
There is some truly wonderful news to celebrate on the COVID-19 front. Today marks the 12th consecutive day without any new cases reported for the Village of Pelham. Well done! These numbers are the product of sacrifice and hard work done by every member of our community and I will personally enter into this weekend with pride and gratitude for how we’ve risen to this challenge.
Here’s what happens next: According to the Governor’s plan for reopening, we are only one metric away from being able to begin Phase One. We anticipate moving into this first phase within the next week or so. As you may know, the Governor’s plan contains four different phases and there will be a 14-day pause prior to the start of each new phase, so that health officials can determine whether or not it is safe to continue. The first phase will include businesses related to construction, manufacturing, certain agricultural businesses and most notably for us, retail that relies on curbside pickup. So we should have some more local options very soon, and I hope you’ll give them the support they need to rebuild.
Please keep in mind that this process will not be quick. In fact, it will probably be frustratingly long. We are unlikely to return to anything we might consider “normal” for many months. I know that you’re tired. I am too. But we must continue to be vigilant. Letting down our guard is the worst possible answer to the fatigue we’re all feeling. There is some discussion of this public health crisis and the various stay-at-home orders required to keep us safe, as though we are making a choice between protecting our collective health and protecting our economy. That is a false choice. Our economy cannot function if thousands are dying each day and our hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. We will not have a fully functioning economy until we have defeated this virus. If we abandon our adherence to public health measures, the damage to our economy will be far greater than the damage we’re feeling now.
So as we approach this reopening, please do so safely. We will continue to enforce the Governor’s executive orders, but we are limited in our ability to enforce common sense. There are few things more frustrating than watching a maskless individual strolling through our downtown, passing carelessly beside masked shoppers lined up outside DeCiccos. It is equally frustrating to hear reports that some of our teenagers are congregating without consideration for safety protocols. The CDC guidance is to wear a mask anytime you are in a public setting where you cannot maintain social distancing--that includes jogging along sidewalks when you are likely to pass shoulder-to-shoulder with someone else, or stopping in to pick up food when you’ll inevitably be close to a restaurant worker as you pay. If you’re heading outside, grab a mask (just like you grab your keys) and be ready to put it on when you end up within six feet of someone else. If you do not have a mask, please call the Village of Pelham Police Department at (914) 738-2000, and we will make sure you have what you need to do your part in preventing further spread of the virus.
Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made to get us this far. As we head into what will undoubtedly be a weekend full of beautiful weather, please remember: we are winning this fight. And I, for one, will drink to that.