Amsterdam shuts city buildings amid coronavirus concerns
AMSTERDAM — The city is taking precautionary measures to do its part in helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to keep residents safe by closing city buildings to the public.
According to a news release, City Hall and all city public buildings, including the public safety building will be closed to the public effective immediately through March 31, except in very limited circumstances.
“We’re just hoping we can blunt this thing. We’re doing everything everyone else is trying to do which is restrict people who may have the virus from those who don’t and hopefully get this thing to reach its peak and start going down,” said Mayor Michael Cinquanti.
The city police and fire department will continue to respond to all emergency calls, and the Department of Public works will continue curbside waste collection as scheduled.
“Following recommendations from the [Centers for Disease Control], the state of New York and the Montgomery County Health Department, we have put in place procedures in an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within our city,” Cinquanti said in a prepared statement “These changes will go into effect immediately. I remain in constant contact with our city’s police and fire chiefs, key department heads, Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, and the county health department, and we will expand upon these restrictions should the situation warrant.”
Cinquanti continued, stating “The decision to declare this state of emergency is a proactive measure to prevent the spread of the virus to members of our community, our city employees, their families and our first responders. The most proven effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to keep people who are or who may be carrying the virus away from those who are not.”
According to the release, because members of the city police interact with the public, the department will be taking precautions to help prevent themselves from contracting caronavirus. In the case of an emergency, always call 911.
City Court has closed indefinitely as of 5 p.m. on Monday. Police headquarters at the public safety building will also be closed to the public until further notice.
For certain non-emergency calls in which no immediate threat to safety exists, and where no suspect has been identified, contact police headquarters at (518) 842-1100. Minor calls for service, such as minor property complaints, may be handled by phone or through a postponed report.
Access to administrative reports, including police incident reports and Freedom of Information Law requests responses will be handled by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone. No in-person document requests will be facilitated at police headquarters.
According to the release, AFD will also continue to respond to emergency calls. Access to administrative reports, including fire incident reports, will be handled by email or phone. There will be no in-person document requests facilitated at fire headquarters. All fire department facilities will be closed until further notice.
If anyone has an emergency that requires the DPW, contact them at (518) 842-1100. For non-emergencies, call the DPW line at (518) 842-3691.
All curbside waste collection will continue as scheduled, however, all bulk pickups are suspended temporarily.
Tap water supplied to residents in the town of Amsterdam, city of Amsterdam, and town of Florida is safe to drink. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water, according to the release. Payments for metered water invoices can be mailed to 61 Church St., Amsterdam.
Public meetings including the Common Council will be closed to the public and media. The public will be able to view meetings live on the city of Amsterdam’s Facebook page. The meetings will be recorded and transcribed.
All other meetings of any and all city boards or committees will be rescheduled.
All Civil Service exams scheduled for March have been postponed.
In the Department of Engineering and code enforcement, all permits, payments and other transactions will take place by phone. All inspections are suspended until further notice.
All planning board and zoning meetings are canceled until further notice.
Cinquanti said as events are being canceled and businesses close, there will be an impact on the city. The city already had to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day event this month and already canceled Wingfest in April.
All recreation facilities will be closed effective immediately and all organized and voluntary activities are prohibited.
“We’re optimistic that by the end of April this thing has peaked and is on its way down and we can start resuming normal activities here in the city because tourism is important,” Cinquanti said. “Not only tourism, but we’ve closed our restaurants and small businesses are hurting. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get this thing controlled here, not just in our city, our county, but our state. We’re going to work with everyone we can and practice all the rules of social distancing and just do the things that have worked in other countries.”
The assessor’s office will be closed. All city tax payments must be processed online at www.amsterdamny.gov. If unable to make a payment online, payments can be made by mailing a check or money order to 61 Church St.
Cinquanti declared the State of Emergency for the city on Monday. Only essential employees are to report to work. The State of Emergency will remain in effect through March 31.
“We’ve got a lot of great people here in the city of Amsterdam who are working very hard to help keep the lid on this thing and I’m very proud of the efforts they’re putting in and we’re going to beat it,” Cinquanti said.