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INTERVIEW: East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc On The Coronavirus And What’s Next

T.J. Clemente

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. (Courtesy Photo)

I reached out to East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc to ask some of the questions so many of us have been asking. He was kind enough to take time out from these most busy and challenging times to answer these questions exclusively for Hamptons.com.

How would you describe East Hampton Town's overall response to the Coronavirus pandemic?

PVS: Our response was quick and evolved according to the changing information surrounding the virus. The Town's early response to the COVID-19 outbreak included several key actions that likely helped keep the number of cases in East Hampton lower than every other town on Long Island, except Shelter Island. The first documented case of COVID-19 in Suffolk County was in Southold Town on March 8th. I closed our Senior Center on March 11 to protect our most vulnerable citizens. On March 13th I declared a State of Emergency, closing all town facilities, including the YMCA REC center, used by many seniors. I requested that Governor Cuomo further restrict non-essential construction to protect workers on busy job sites and to further protect our residents. With the cooperation and assistance from of our entire Town Board, we have continued to adapt to and address the many changing circumstances regarding the latest guidance from health experts, and county and state officials.

Would you be able to share your vision of East Hampton Town returning to normalcy?

PVS: My wish is to return to normalcy as soon and as safely as possible. The return to normalcy must be carefully contemplated and executed. We need to be on the lookout for a resurgence or second wave of COVID-19, and be ready to respond again. Protecting our citizens and the public health must be our top priority, as we move to restart our economy. We cannot know exactly what lies ahead, and so we must be flexible and thoughtful as we reopen our town.

Does East Hampton Town have any plans on reopening golf courses and boat marinas anytime soon?

PVS: Within the town there are two NY State owned golf courses, and three privately owned golf courses. Currently the State has decided to leave their courses closed. Private courses may allow play, provided that social distancing is practiced. The Town's marina at Three Mile Harbor will remain closed until the bulkhead replacement is completed in late May. Private marinas are now allowed to open, but social distancing must be practiced.

What is East Hampton Town's plan for opening beaches Memorial Day weekend?

PVS: We are planning for a multitude of possible scenarios, and all actions will be closely tied to the progress made in reducing the number of cases of COVID-19. I have been asked by County Executive Steve Bellone to participate in the newly formed County Beaches/Summer Working Group to analyze and coordinate a unified countywide plan regarding opening beaches. It is important to for East Hampton to have a voice on this committee to convey our unique and specific needs as we prepare meet the challenges of COVID-19 this summer.

What actions of East Hampton Town citizens have made you most proud and the flip side what actions have disappointed you most during this pandemic?

PVS: I am most proud of the multitude of people who have come forward in this time of great uncertainty and need, to help others. It is truly gratifying to know so many generous people who are working to help others, who share their wealth with those who are less fortunate, who give comfort and reassurance to those who are suffering, and who take care of the sick. I know we will come through this time with a greater understanding and appreciation for what we have accomplished together and for what is truly most important in our lives. There are some disappointing actions but I prefer to focus on the positive. Be kind, and take care of yourself and others. We will get through this together.




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