Town of Huntington officials are taking a step toward normalcy by reopening Town Hall by appointment starting Monday.
“We expect more than half of Town Hall to be able to schedule appointments to come in,” town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said. “It will be most of the major departments such as the assessor’s office, engineering and building, parks and recreation, town clerk, receiver of taxes, it will be the high trafficked departments.”
Huntington Town Hall has been closed to the public since March 16, but had remained open for employees until March 26 when it was closed to most employees after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. Limited janitorial and public safety staff reported to Town Hall during this time. Limited staff from other departments were called in by their directors starting March 30.
Last week a test run to reopen Town Hall to the public went smoothly, including the implementation of the visitor management system, Lupinacci said.
Those who go into Town Hall can expect to wear a face mask, have a temperature check by security, fill out a contact tracing form and maintain social distancing. Only one person at a time will be allowed in an elevator. Hand sanitizer dispensers and bilingual signs will be posted around the building explaining the building’s safety protocol measures.
Lupinacci said the building will be cleaned and sanitized in the morning and at the end of the day, with high-touch areas cleaned throughout the day.
Town officials ask that only one person per household or business make the visit to Town Hall.
The rest of the board — Mark Cuthbertson, Gene Cook, Joan Cergol and Ed Smyth — agreed that Town Hall’s reopening was a step in the right direction.
“We look forward to a time soon when residents come in at unscheduled times and avail themselves to town services,” Cuthbertson said.
Cook said while safety remains a priority, he is ready to keep pushing forward. .
“I would like to see the return of town hall meetings at Town Hall next, while maintaining social distancing guidelines, even if we need to think outside the box by using a reservation system and the option to speak at a public hearing or public session via Zoom, if you are unable to visit Town Hall," Cook said.
Cergol credited residents' overall diligence in complying with COVID-19 preventive measures.
“That said, it's premature to let our guards down,” Cergol said “I keep reminding everyone I can that while they may be done with COVID-19, the virus is not quite done with us."
Smyth said, “The town is taking every reasonable precaution to protect the health of visitors and employees.”
Appointments can be made by calling 631-351-3000 and asking to be connected to the department or by visiting huntingtonny.gov.