Coronavirus Update, July 6, 2020

Following the holiday weekend, New York Governor Cuomo held a press conference in Albany to address a number of COVID-19 related announcements. Included was an announcement that the New York State Department of Health is finishing plans for their guidance on maybe opening school districts this fall. All school districts have been directed to develop reopening plans, but a final decision on whether they’ll open or not come September is yet to come.

Cuomo also notified the public that movie theaters and casinos in the state will remain closed for now while state leaders review data surrounding reopening those facilities. This comes as New York City enters phase 3 of reopening without indoor dining, with the Mid-Hudson region set to enter phase 4 of reopening tomorrow and Long Island ready to begin phase 4 as well on Wednesday.

It was also announced by the Governor that the annual New York State Fair will be cancelled out of an “abundance of caution”. The end-of-summer tradition usually takes place in Syracuse.

The daily new cases of COVID-19 in New York State continue to drop, as the state only saw about 520 new cases Monday. Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, In Tompkins County 167 of the 168 people infected with the virus have recovered as of yesterday, according to the county health department. In Schuyler County, 14 out of 15 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered, according to their health department.

Another beloved upstate New York tradition canceled due to the pandemic will instead be holding a virtual celebration. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Grassroots Festival of Music and Arts. Now, instead of the traditional three day long event that draws thousands to the Trumansburg fairgrounds in the height of summer, multiple live streams of archived festival music will be shared from 10am-3am Thursday July 16th through Sunday July 19th — the weekend the event was slated to take place.

Grassroots Festival organizers say that they’re maintaining the basic structure and schedule of a classic Grassroots event, specifically with four stages, according to the Ithaca Times. Dubbed “Your Roots at Home,” the event will stream on the platform “Twitch” from four separate streams, though the band schedule isn’t clear yet.

Organizers are requesting that past Grassroots attendees submit video footage to More information on the virtual festival can be found at

Members of the Tompkins County Legislature’s Budget, Capital and Personnel committee have reviewed a mid-year 2020 budget update and discussed 2021 budget priorities, with information about the impact of COVID-19 on the county budget. According to a county press release, concerns were raised regarding state aid payments, the county’s hiring freeze, aid for supporting agencies, and the possibility of further mid-year cuts.

Committee chairwoman Martha Robertson led a discussion on how to best allocate resources to programs and services that offer the greatest value to residents. The discussion covered mandated programs and services, public safety reform, and adjustments to better address the needs of those negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Members of the public may provide feedback on what they believe are budget priorities by emailing Future opportunities for the public to learn more about the budget and to offer their input will be announced in the coming weeks.

Contributing writing by Susan Fortson