UPDATE: ON WEDNESDAY, MAYOR ANNE WELCH ANNOUNCED THE RED BRICK MUNICIPAL BUILDING IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
LPD, Rec Dept. taking precautionary measures
By Joshua Maloni
At Monday’s Village of Lewiston Board meeting, Mayor Anne Welch reiterated a message the clerk’s office sent out earlier in the day regarding COVID-19.
“We just want everybody to be smart, and stay healthy, and stay safe,” she told a room where the three audience members were seated at a distance from one another, as part of the Centers for Disease Control coronavirus guidelines.
Welch said, “Our office is still operating; we just don’t want the general public to be coming in, unless it’s really necessary.”
She said this is in compliance with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state directives on “social distancing” and limiting public gatherings.
“It's beneficial to them, and us, if everybody just keeps their distance,” Welch said.
Municipal departments making changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Lewiston Police Department
“We’ve been very busy,” Lewiston Police Department Chief Frank Previte said. “We are changing our practices a little bit, as far as limiting access to the building. So, if you do have anybody who calls, please encourage them, for non-emergency situations, to call (716-754-8477).
“We have a protocol now. The officers will take the report over the phone, as opposed to responding in somebody's house, instead.
“For emergency calls, things will remain the same; no change.”
Previte also said officers will be equipped with masks.
“The clerk’s office is going down 50%, per the governor, and all the government offices,” Welch said.
Clerk Shannon Fundis, Treasurer Stephanie Myers and Deputy Clerk Donna Vazquez will rotate shifts in and out of the Red Brick Municipal Building.
“We’re hoping that residents do not come into the office,” Welch said. “There’s no need for it – unless there’s some necessity to come in. We have a dropbox out front. We want the residents to use the dropbox.
“April 1 is the water bills. They have used the dropbox before. Please, do not come in the office. Just put your payment in the dropbox. Anything you need – any forms, building permits, anything, just drop us a line in the dropbox. We empty it every day. We will be able to send you anything you need. Or, with your water bills, just ask us if you need a receipt; we will send a receipt to you.
“Please stay home, and stay healthy, and stay safe.”
Recreation Director Brendan McDermott said, “A lot of … programs are on hold for right now. The Recreation Department has closed down until further notice. We’ll likely mirror what the schools are doing, with regards to closing. If it's not safe for them to be in school, it's not safe for them to collect here, as well.”
He added, “In the meantime, we do have recreation staff thoroughly cleaning our facility. You know, it's a good time for us to get organized with different things that are going on for the upcoming summer programs and fall. We’ll utilize the time appropriately.”
“Hopefully, it won't be long before we can get back up and running again,” Welch said.
Department of Public Works
Department of Public Works Superintendent Larry Wills said his team is operating as usual.
One addendum to that statement is that water meter installations are postponed.
“They’re not going into anyone’s house right now,” Welch said.
“I had a safety protocol meeting with my crew this morning – especially the (people) that are out picking up garbage and recycling every day – to make sure they’re clean when you come back to the facility; they’re not leaving gloves in the break room. Just basic safety measures,” Wills said.
DPW workers are wearing two pairs of gloves – one Latex – as they go about their collection process.
“Larry has had his guys wipe everything down in here, also,” Welch said.
Municipal meetings will be postponed or cancelled if there is no new business.
“The boards and commissions, they’re on a day-to-day basis to see if they’re going to hold their meetings,” Welch said. “If we don’t need meetings, we’re obviously not going to hold them. If something can wait, I’d rather we held off on any assembly of people.”
“People just have to be smart and take this seriously,” Welch said. “The sooner they do, the sooner this will go away.”
She reminded residents with health-related questions to call the 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
Those with questions regarding village operations can call the clerk’s office at 716-754-8271.
HERE is a link to the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, the coronavirus, from the New York State Department of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control has an extensive list of what to do, not do, and where/how to find help.
Find more information at these sites: