HALFMOON, N.Y. — As the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the county continued to increase near the end of the year, town supervisors for Clifton Park and Halfmoon closed both town halls as a way to protect the public as well as town employees.
On Dec. 11, Clifton Park’s town employees were informed in a letter from Supervisor Philip Barrett that town hall had experienced its first confirmed positive test result for COVID-19. According to the letter the case did not meet the definition of exposure to fellow employees and so the situation did not necessitate a worksite investigation and quarantines were not ordered.
Later that same day in a letter to all department heads Barrett ordered a workforce reduction during the holiday period which he said was based on recent developments with the coronavirus in Saratoga County. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections Barrett ordered department heads to temporarily reduce daily attendance of their staff by 25 percent effective Dec. 15.
The Highway and Building and Grounds departments were told they should remain ready to respond to winter storm events and call employees in if needed. The letter said the workforce reductions would remain in place until Jan. 8.
The temporary closure of town hall and all other town buildings to the public was announced Dec. 14. The announcement said the buildings would reopen to the public Jan. 4.
As the date drew near a notice was loaded to the town website alerting residents the town’s buildings would remain closed to the public through Jan. 8 except by appointment.
Information was given on how to make an appointment, drop off mail directed for town departments, and that the Town Transfer Station and Senior Express were observing normal hours.
At the Jan. 4 town Board meeting Barrett noted that the temporary staff reductions would continue until Friday, Jan. 8 and that building closures had been extended also due to the continuing increase in COVID-19 cases in the county.
He also noted the day’s breaking news that the new strain of the COVID-19 virus had been detected at a business in Saratoga Springs.
In Halfmoon the temporary closure of town hall to residents was not announced until Dec. 30.
On that date, and under an emergency declaration, Halfmoon Supervisor Kevin Tollisen announced that in following CDC guidelines and in order to ensure the town remains open for critical town business, town buildings would be closed to the public effective Jan. 1 until further notice.
A request was made to Tollisen to determine if there has been a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in any of the town’s buildings. However, no response was received in time for this story.
The announcement noted also that residents in need of services could email or call town hall during normal business hours and that appointments were available.
Additional information from the announcement is shown below:
• Town/County tax payments shall be mailed to 2A Halfmoon Town Plaza, Halfmoon, New York 12065 or can be dropped off at the secure box located at the main entrance to the Town Hall. Credit card payments are also accepted online (check out the town website and any associated fees with credit card payments).
• All senior programs at the Senior Center are canceled. Any seniors in need of food or other items should contact Supervisor Tollisen’s office or the Senior Center Director Eileen Pettis.
• The Senior Van Services will continue to be available but will be limited to medically necessary appointments and grocery shopping. Vans and busses will be thoroughly cleaned daily.
• Town Parks will remain open for walking and other recreational items but there shall be no gatherings at any town parks.
“Supervisor Tollisen and the Town Board have regular communications with the town’s Emergency Management Team and in concert with the Emergency Management Plan to discuss and make decisions which are in the best interest of the town residents,” the announcement stated.
More information is available at Tollisen’s office at: (518) 371-7410 extension 2200.