Village Manager's Special Report 3/20/20

Village  Manager’s  Special  Report

20 March 2020


VBM Alerts and Action:



Change of Status: The Governor has issued new guidelines and orders. In keeping with the spirit and intent, the following changes are to be implemented immediately regarding the use of public facilities and parks relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • All Indoor facilities are closed until further notice.  This includes the Youth Center, the Community Center, and the Recreation Department’s administrative offices.  The best way to communicate with Recreation staff members is through email.  We are also still attempting to answer all calls to our office number, 941-6560, during regular business hours. 
  • All Village Playgrounds are closed until further notice.  This includes the playground pieces at Law Park, Chilmark Park, Jackson Road Park and Neighborhood Park.  This measure has been enacted to help prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, and the fact that the Village can in no way guarantee the cleanliness or disinfection of outdoor play equipment on a daily & continuous basis.
  • All Village Athletic Fields are closed for GROUP USE until further notice.  This includes the Club Field, McCrum Field, and the playing fields at Chilmark Park and Neighborhood Park.  Use of Village fields by groups or any organization requires an approved permit – No Permits have been issued for the Spring 2020 season to date.  We are not looking to stop individuals from recreating with their family members, or a close friend or two, but pick-up games and any activities that involve a group of more than 10 people are prohibited at this time and will be enforced by the BMPD.
  • All Village Parks and Trails remain OPEN.  All parks, trails, basketball courts (limited to 4 players), platform tennis courts and tennis court #4 at Law Park remain open for “Responsible Use” by residents observing social distancing minimums recommended by the CDC. 


The following recommendations should be followed by all park and trail users:

  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading out to parks or trails: wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not go out if you have symptoms of illness, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • At all times, observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six (6) feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Maintain it as you walk, bike, hike or otherwise recreate.
  • Make sure other park visitors and trail users are aware of your presence as you pass to provide for proper distancing.  Step off trails to allow others to pass while keeping minimum distances at all times.
  • Not all parks have public restrooms and/or drinking fountains: be prepared before you leave and time your outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms. Bring water or drinks, as public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
  • No Litter ... bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash ... take everything out to protect park workers.

Dispersal of Village Personnel and Equipment.   As reported yesterday, today all VBM Department Heads and Staff are in the process of addressing the CDC requirements to provide for the “social distancing” of a local municipal work force. Each department is now in the process of implementing contingency plans during the expanding of the Coronavirus. Physical contact between and among the work force is to be minimized on a daily basis. This is especially the case where teams of employees provide various levels of daily service throughout the village let alone within our facilities.  Lessening any Coronavirus event that could compromise the very people who provide you Village services is upper most. The protocols if a positive Coronavirus hits could compromise a total department or worse.  For health and safety reasons: the continuation of vital public services to our residents, a dispersal plan of our work force was initiated this morning and should be fully implemented no later than our opening on Monday, 23 March. The rapid nature of the virus and guidelines to meet this challenge are changing all the time. Especially subject to ongoing orders from the Governor and/or County Executive. The following subjects include our own plans and responses to the current health situation:

Department of Public Works and Water:  DPW Administration, highway, garage and water distribution will center at our DPW facility; Parks and recycling operations will work out of our Youth Center; Sanitation will form up at the Club parking lot adjacent to the comfort station; and daily water testing and service distribution to VBM at our Tarrytown Lakes pump station. Chilmark Park will be a staging area for other services and needs. Daily wash downs of vehicles is to be completed: each vehicle is to be provided separate sanitizing materials/sprays. You can help: please do not flush disinfectant wipes, paper towels even if it’s labeled “flushable”; these items can create a sewer line blockage and an additional public health risk; and, consolidated used/discarded tissues in a separate plastic bag (like the ones your newspaper home delivery comes in) and knot at the end ... then dispose in your garbage.

Police, Fire and Ambulance.  Without going into details on the VBMPD side: internal manning, operational and call-out plans are being adjusted. Needs for individual scheduling, coverage and service issues are being addressed. On the voluntary services side of Fire and Ambulance activities, a fantastic, real “Briarcliff volunteerism” jump in responses have occurred. With businesses, schools and especially colleges closed, we have additional depth in responding to all calls.  That’s what makes Briarcliff ... Briarcliff.

Library/Community Center and Recreation: While the Library and the William J. Vescio Community Center are closed to the public, the facilities are staffed with Village employees working on specific projects. Calls and e-mails are answered and responded.  Reminder: please remember that the Library has online music, movies and books that you can access through our website: Email [email protected] if we can be of assistance.  We request that you do not return books and other items at this time. There will be no charge on items returned after the due date.  Holds throughout the Westchester Library System have also been suspended and most other Libraries are closed.  The Recreation Department will be on site. Program cancellations are on their website and sign-ups and payments for Spring and Summer programs can be made directly over the phone or on line.

Village Hall Related:  VH continues to be closed to the public but we are fully functional in the many levels of administrative services. Daily mail and package delivery continues without interruption. Payments on line are being accepted and the “night drop” in the VH parking lot is checked several times a day. By Monday, we will be separating and rotating personnel to address the various directives to disperse employees. Phone inquiries are being handled routinely and we are setting up call forwarding as necessary for many employees.  The NYS Office of Court Administration (OCA) has ordered local courts (VBM’s Village Court) to close until Monday, 4 May 2020. If you have any questions or need to reach the court, you may leave a voicemail at 914-944-2788.  Voicemail will be checked periodically. Please send faxes to 914-944-4007.  You may also email the court clerk at [email protected]

Meetings, Hearings and other Public Events: The guidelines for these important public functions continues to evolve with every effort to continue access to our residents. Today’s technology encourages and provides alternatives to public access in these times never anticipated: “Zoom” is in place to augment our ability to include residents to our scheduled sessions. The real test comes at our next M/BOT sessions on Tuesday, 24 March.  It goes without saying that you should go to our website ( to keep up to date and current.

From The Briarcliff Manor Fire Department (BMFD).  To our Briarcliff Manor Residents and those in the Briarcliff Manor Fire Protection Districts: precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak. The BMFD Chief of Department notes that if you are quarantined (mandatory or self-imposed) in your home due to possible or confirmed COVID-19 exposure. Please notify the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department, either confidentially by calling the Fire Department/Ambulance (914) 941-4440 or the Police Department (914) 914-2130 and leaving a message or when you call 911 let the dispatcher know you could possibly be infected with the Coronavirus.  If you do call for any emergency services Fire, Ambulance or Police place a sign or note on your front door to alert our Emergency Responders to take infection-prevention precautions before entering your home or business.  We need to protect our emergency responders so they will be able to continue to answer all the emergency needs of our community. Elsewhere, there have been other Fire Companies and EMT’s quarantined after they responded to a quarantined home and were not warned before entering. Those Emergency Responders are now unavailable to help anyone else for 14 days!

Thank You - We are here to help you in your time of need.  Stay Safe and remain Healthy!  PS: If you do not live in the Briarcliff Manor Fire District, it is a good idea to alert the emergency services providers in your area.

From the Department of Recreation and Parks:  Great things are happening!  Briarcliff Manor Senior Citizen Shopping Assistance.  The VBM normally provides a free, weekly grocery shopping trip for all interested resident Senior Citizens utilizing our 16 passenger Senior Bus.  In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, and with concern for the health and safety of our older residents, the Village's Senior Bus transportation program has now been postponed for the foreseeable future. In lieu of providing mass transportation type Senior Citizen bus service to the supermarket, we are now working to identify Senior residents who may need someone to do their essential weekly shopping for them.  As these Seniors are identified, we are pairing them up with volunteers who have already stepped forward to offer their assistance.  If you are a Senior, or you know of a Senior who could benefit from this service, please call the Recreation Department Office (914)-941-6560 between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to request “Senior Shopping Assistance”.  You may also email Henry Jamin at [email protected] to be included as a participant or to check if any more volunteers are needed.  Thank you in advance for your assistance with this endeavor, and please feel free to share this information with anyone who may benefit!  

From the Briarcliff Chamber of Commerce.  During this difficult time, we want to lend our assistance in any way possible.  The Briarcliff Manor Chamber of Commerce remains committed to our member businesses and the support we offer you.  To keep Briarcliff and surrounding communities informed, we'd like to promote retail and restaurant member's offerings (i.e. online ordering, call ahead/pick-up in store, curbside pickup, delivery).  Please reach out to us ([email protected]) with some of the following details:  

  • Website
  • Special packages
  • Hours of Operation
  • Delivery, Curbside Pick-up, Both
  • Best way to order:
    • Online (which website)
    • Call directly (best #)
    • 3rd Party (GrubHub, Seamless, UberEats...)

The Chamber will continue to monitor this situation closely on behalf of the business community.  We continue to be available to help with any questions or concerns you may have.  Please keep us advised on hour your business is being impacted.  Together, as a community, we will get through this.

And in parallel to the above ... Support our restaurants, stores and deli’s.  Shutdowns of many public places are in effect. When it comes to food establishments, check and see if your favorite food establishment has take-out and/or delivery: ask and be surprised.  You are helping a lot of people along the way.  Since most orders are paid in advance with a credit card ... don’t forget that tip ... you’ll make somebody feel better too.
All and reports and pending actions are subject to change.
  Please note that all policies, guidelines and recommendations are subject to change based upon further recommendations and/or directives that may be received or passed down from the Village Board of Trustees, County/State/National governmental entities and regulatory agencies.


Philip E. Zegarelli,
Village Manager

Report 427D – 20 March 2020