Mayor, supervisor: Please wear masks in Lake Placid

Dear citizens of North Elba and Lake Placid:

What a busy and beautiful summer it has been. In spite of the lack of our Canadian friends and neighbors — as well as our major event clientele including participants and fans of the Lake Placid Horse Shows, lacrosse, Ironman and marathons — the town and village experienced one of the busiest seasons in recent history.

It appeared that families looking for a safe and friendly setting converged on our little village of Lake Placid and surrounding area on a daily basis throughout the summer season, and the trend seems to be continuing into the fall.

We applaud the efforts of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, Lake Placid Police Department, Health Department, local businesses and citizens in being persistent in educating our visitors as to safety guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and sanitization, etc. This has been a daunting task, considering visitors change from week to week and/or day to day.

Masks on Main Street and social distancing received a great deal of attention. Earlier in the summer, the percentage of people wearing masks and practicing social distancing was dismal. Gradually, through collective efforts, the situation gained momentum. Toward the end of August, it appeared that almost everyone was wearing a mask on Main Street.

However, it appears that percentages of persons wearing masks has decreased during the month of September. Perhaps less congestion and cooler temperatures are making people feel safer and less obligated to wear masks. This is a false sense of security, and we all must be diligent in constantly encouraging and enforcing these basic safety elements as directed from the governor’s office and supported by the New York State Health Department and World Health Organization.

Presently, this is an endless process and must continue for everyone’s well-being.

In spite of vast numbers of visitors throughout the summer, Essex County and the town of North Elba statistically remained very low on numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. I believe we can attribute much of this to the efforts of all of our groups and citizens who strived to follow the aforementioned health directives and protocols.

Recently, as has been in the news, North Elba has had several additional positive cases, which were immediately addressed by the Essex County Health Department using established procedures including contact tracing, which is identifying close contacts associated with the person that tested positive.

“A contact is defined as someone who has either been within 6 feet of a known positive for more than 10 minutes or someone who was in the same indoor area (greater than 6 feet away) of a known positive for an hour or more.”

We must all be on the alert and never let our guard down. This means following New York state directives and Health Department protocols.

Essex County Health Department Director Linda Beers warns against a sense of false security: “Just because the coronavirus was detected in one place does not mean other places are free from it.”

We are all in this together and must remember to practice kindness and respect for one another at all times. During these difficult days, it is especially important to show support for our local community members and businesses.

The simple message is to follow basic Health Department protocol:

Stay safe and be smart. Follow New York State Department of Health guidelines and the governor’s executive orders, limit group gatherings, practice social distancing (6 feet), wash hands often with warm water and soap or hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, wear masks in public, etc.