Niskayuna closing Town Hall due to rising COVID rates

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Categories: News, Schenectady County

With local COVID-19 infection rates continuing to rise, Niskayuna Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed on Saturday signed an emergency declaration closing the Town Hall to the public, effective Monday and lasting at least through Dec. 18.

Syed said she acted because the Schenectady County COVID-19 test positivity rate rate over the last 14 days has stayed above 2 percent, marking the highest levels since last spring.

Under the order, the Town Hall, justice court, wastewater treatment plant, water treatment plant, highway garage and water and sewer maintenance facility will be closed to the general public, “out of an abundance of caution.”

Syed said that due to it having specially installed air ventilation systems, the Senior Center will remain open, though with some limits on services offered.

All cases pending in Town Court have been adjourned. All upcoming town meetings will be held by video conference.

The town clerk’s office will be processing certificate and permit requests by mail only for the time being, while the building/code enforcement, planning and other offices will be available by phone, email or mail.

Niskayuna’s decision follows one made by the town of Glenville, where Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle has ordered the Town Hall closed to the public effective Monday, also citing the percentage of positive COVID tests in the community. Both were also closed during the first surge of COVID in the spring, but re-opened on at least a limited basis in late spring.

Niskayuna Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw said she supports the supervisor’s decision.

“We believe there’s a real concern on the part of our residents about accessing town hall, but we will remain available by appointment,” she said. “We cannot be responsible for the spread. We are talking to our department heads about ways employees can work from home.”

Town employees are tested for COVID regularly, and so far none have tested positive, Murphy McGraw said.

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