Ithaca City playgrounds are slated to reopen this week after the city received an anonymous $25,000 donation, according to the Ithaca Voice.

Mayor Svante Myrick announced the news of the generous donation on Friday. He says the donor was concerned about children and families having a place to go, to get out of the house and have a place to enjoy some recreation. The donation also enables the city to recall some of the furloughed city employees. They will begin a process of disinfecting and sanitizing playgrounds throughout the city. The playground will continue to be sanitized twice daily.

Earlier in the week, Purity Ice Cream donated $80,000 and the Legacy Foundation donated $8,000, which will allow the Alex Haley Pool at GIAC to reopen as well.

The Ithaca Free Clinic will begin a gradual reopening of its services to limited in-person patients and appointments over video calls.

The Ithaca Times reports that while walk-in appointments or pre-employment physicals are currently being fulfilled, the clinic will see certain patients and give other consultations over tele-health video. They will use today’s number of appointments to gauge scheduling in the future.

Those who need a prescription filled or would like to speak to a doctor should contact clinic@ithacahealth.org or at (607) 330-1254.

The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, or TCAT, will be extending the bus fare waiver that has been in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hope is that social distancing will be encouraged as there won’t be any interactions for payment and that those financially struggling because of the pandemic will still be able to use public transportation, the Ithaca Times reports.

TCAT will be installing permanent protective barriers in every bus to separate drivers from the farebox equipment by early fall. Because of high demand, glass shields are back-ordered, so they will install temporary barriers until they can receive permanent ones.

TCAT also follows strict protocol with disinfecting their busses and requires their riders to be wearing face masks at all times during their rides.

Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s annual CFCU summer concert series will kick off with virtual concerts in July, according to the Ithaca Voice.

The kickoff will begin at 6pm July 9th and will continue every Thursday, from 6-8pm thru September 24th.  The concerts will be performed live from the State Theater and broadcast across all Downtown Ithaca social media platforms, including facebook, instagram, youtube and twitter.

DIA Special Events Director Scott Rougeau acknowledges the importance of safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and the possibility of shifting to live performances once New York State releases guidelines for mass gatherings.

More information and concert dates are available at downtownithaca.com.

The Urban Farming Project, the New Roots student engagement program, has been farming on the land next to Immaculate Conception church in Ithaca since Tompkins County entered phase one of reopening in March.

Ithaca Times reports that the church has partnered with New Roots to help with Immaculate Conception’s weekly food pantry by using the vegetables grown in the garden as well as grocery store donations.

New Roots Dean of Students Jhakeem Hamilton says the farming project will also try to incorporate food grown in the garden in the New Roots cafeteria.

Governor Cuomo has closed a loophole in the quarantine order for “non-essential” travel. The loophole made employers responsible for paying their employees during the 14-day quarantine even if their travel was non-essential, such as for a vacation according to the Times Union. Many governors have issued “advisory” quarantines, but New York’s is mandatory, and violations can lead to fines of up to $10,000.

To face the penalty, New York’s Public Health Law requires that the person first be notified by a local health department official to quarantine through self isolation. Cuomo says the law will be enforced through “random checks”, but has not given any details on how that will be implemented. He also claims the state can access travel itineraries and monitor people flying into New York. Otherwise, enforcement may have to rely on citizens reporting about violations.

High-risk states currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

At a press conference today, New York Governor Cuomo called on President Trump to issue an executive order requiring all people in the U.S. to wear masks in public. He also called on the president to also wear a mask.

Cuomo also announced that there are nearly 400 new cases of COVID-19 in the state as of today. This comes as case numbers surge in the South and Western U.S. and some states backpedal their staged reopening to contain the virus. Meanwhile, another region of our state - Western New York - has been cleared by health experts to enter Phase 4 of reopening Tuesday.

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, In Tompkins County there is one new case as of Monday. 165 of the 168 people infected with the virus in Tompkins have recovered, according to the county health department. There are no new or active cases of the virus in Schuyler County, according to their health department. All 14 people infected with the virus have recovered.

Contributing writing by WRFI Contributor Susan Fortson and News Interns Phoebe Harms and Jon Donville