It’s been almost six months since the doors at Southold Town Hall were last open to the public.
But with a record low COVID-19 infection rate below 1% and safety protocols in place, officials are preparing to reopen town buildings on a limited basis. Supervisor Scott Russell announced that starting Wednesday, Aug. 26, they will reopen for residents to conduct business by appointment only.
Visitors to Town Hall or the annex must call specific departments to make appointments, wear a mask or face covering and respond to COVID-19 screening questions before entering the building.
As operations resume at Town Hall, deputy supervisor Jill Doherty inquired about in-person meetings. According to a press release issued by Mr. Russell’s office, public boards and town committees will continue virtual meetings until further notice.
“All of the boards need to start meeting in person again,” the supervisor said at a work session Tuesday, adding that Suffolk towns are working to put protocols, such as health screenings, in place.
In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order permitting public boards to meet virtually to limit the spread of COVID. It also permits public bodies to take actions without permitting in-person public access, provided that there is an option for the public to listen in or view the proceedings remotely.
The executive order has been extended multiple times and is currently in place until Sept. 4.
Southold’s public boards have been conducting meetings via Zoom. Riverhead has resumed in-person meetings with attendance limited to members of the media, while members of the public are able to attend meetings in Greenport Village and Southampton Town with social distancing and mask guidelines in place.