Local businesses and members of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce were notified by Sag Harbor Village Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy on Saturday that all non-essential businesses must close by tomorrow, March 22, by 8 p.m., as per orders from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo
“I am sorry that we have come to this for any number of reasons,” the mayor said in a statement sent to chamber members on Saturday afternoon, providing guidelines about what types of businesses are considered essential by the state.
Essential health care operations including hospitals, walk-in facilities, elder care, research and lab services, nursing homes and others medical facilities will remain open. Businesses essential to infrastructure, such as utilities, fuel supply, public water and wastewater are considered exempt, as is transportation, including public busses and the Long Island Rail Road. Hotels and other accommodation will remain open, as will essential retail outlets like grocery, food and beverage stores, pharmacies, convenient stores, gas stations and hardware and building material stores.
Restaurants can remain open, but for take-out and delivery only. Banks can remain open, though some are limiting their hours. News and media outlets, payroll and accounting firms and other services related to the financial markets can also continue to operate.
These businesses will remain open to help people with their day-to-day lives, but many others will be forced to close. Businesses can apply to be considered essential by visiting esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/Request%20for%20Designation%20Form_0.pdf.
“Essential businesses or entities, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction,” the mayor’s letter to the chamber read. “Essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issues by the Department of Health.”
Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Field, who also owns the Sag Harbor Variety Store, which will remain open, said she had concern that some businesses might not survive the closing and the economic impacts in the aftermath.
“There’s a lot to digest right now,” Ms. Field said. “This shut down will have a huge impact on our village. For the businesses that have to close, there is worry about how to continue to support our year round employees.”
Ms. Field said the chamber and some members of the community organization Save Sag Harbor are working to create a “virtual Main Street,” an online shopping forum of sorts. “It started when the restaurants had to close, but the plans are for it to keep growing to help support all the businesses,” she said. “It’s obviously a great idea and a concept that is still evolving each day.
“I hope that in a few weeks or months from now,” she added, “we can look back and see that coming together as a community to do the right thing really made a difference and we can come out of this knowing that we overcame hardship by banding together.”
Ms. Mulcahy was sure to remind the business community that the necessary closures were only temporary.
“We can only hope that these drastic measures will help this crisis be over sooner and we can get back to work soon,” Ms. Mulcahy said in closing.