LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County responded to the COVID-19 threat Thursday with a series of directives that keeps county government open for now, but curtails some services.
County Administrator Jack Searles said the county had just accomplished the 50% reduction in the workforce, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo had directed, when word came down that the cut would be increased to 75%.
The county’s nursing homes at Olean and Machias, which remain closed to visitors due to COVID-19, and the county jail are exempted from the workforce reduction.
In addition, it’s “all hands on deck” at the Health Department, Searles said.
Staff from several county departments are participating in the Emergency Operations Center at the Emergency Services Department which opened Thursday morning.
County Legislature Chairman Howard VanRensselaer, R-Randolph, issued a series of directives affecting county services Thursday. They include:
• Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Little Valley and Delevan will be closed.
• The Olean DWV office will remain open on a call in basis. The space available at the Olean office will be able to maintain social distancing. Erie County’s partial DMV closure resulted in a large number of Erie County residents inundating the Delevan DMV office.
• All senior congregate dining sites remain closed; meals are being delivered by Meals on Wheels by county Public Works employees instead of volunteers who were at risk due to their ages.
• Refuse transfer stations will close at Allegany, Conewango, Machias, Dayton, Five Points and Farwell. Only Salamanca and Portville transfer stations will remain open.
Commercial haulers will not be able to use the Salamanca station and will be directed to their permitted landfills.
• The County Treasurer’s Office in Olean is closed; the Little Valley office will remain open.
• The County Museum in Machias is closed.
• The One-Stop Center in Blue Bird Square is closed to the general public.
Searles said further reductions in programs and services is likely as more workers are told to work from home or are otherwise furloughed.
Some employees are being reassigned to other departments dealing with the coronavirus, Searles said.
Some of those employees may be manning telephone hotlines or delivering Meals on Wheels to elderly shut-ins.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)