Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Chief of Police David Hegermiller at work in the supervisor's office March 26, 2020. File photo: Denise Civiletti

All Riverhead Town workers have been ordered to return to work beginning Tuesday, under an emergency order signed by Supervisor Yvette Aguiar that took effect yesterday.

The town is preparing for the reopening of town buildings and facilities “in the near future,” according to the order. Town buildings and facilities remain closed to the public with the exception of police headquarters and the recreation department office at Stotzky Park.

There will be town board work sessions on Tuesday and Thursday next week, both at 10 a.m. There will also be a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be broadcast live on the Optimum cable TV public access channel (Channel 22) and livestreamed on the town’s website.

Most recreation facilities (playgrounds, skatepark, basketball, pickle ball and handball courts, hockey rink, dog parks, soccer/baseball/softball fields) and public bathrooms remain closed through May 31.

Town beaches are open to residents, subject to safe distancing rules. There will be no lifeguards on duty. The supervisor said she expects town beaches will staffed with lifeguards and open for swimming at the end of June.

Beach permit line
Riverhead residents line up outside the recreation department office on Columbus Avenue to purchase 2020 beach parking stickers May 15, the first day they went on sale. Photo: Peter Blasl

Parking in town beach parking lots is limited to vehicles with 2019 or 2020 parking stickers only. The recreation department said that 2019 stickers will be honored until June 27.

Residents can purchase 2020 parking stickers today (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (9 to 10 a.m. for seniors only) at the Stotzky Park recreation department office, 55 Columbus Avenue, Riverhead. Beach parking stickers will also be sold today, tomorrow and Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Jamesport Beach and Wading River Beach. All sales are cash only. No 4×4 are available, but 2019 4×4 permits will be honored.

Beach parking stickers can also be purchased using the Viply app and either picked up at the recreation department office or mailed. See the recreation department website for details.

The recreation trail at EPCAL and town parks/open space areas are open for passive uses. These include Stotzky Park, Bayberry Park, Miamogue Point Park, the Sound Avenue Nature Preserve, Grangebel Park, Amman Park (Peconic Riverfront) and John Lombardi Park. Social distancing rules remain in effect.

Face coverings are mandatory in New York State when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The CDC has posted information on how to make your own cloth face covering. The U.S. Surgeon General has posted a video demonstrating how to make a no-sew mask.

The state of emergency in Riverhead Town has been extended and remains in effect.

COVID-19 updated stats

As of yesterday, Suffolk County was reporting 679 confirmed cases (20.16 cases per 1,000 people) in Riverhead Town.

There have been a total of 38,672 confirmed cases in Suffolk County as of yesterday, according to the State Health Department. In addition, 12,013 individuals not previously tested for COVID-19 have tested positive for antibodies, according to the county.

Editor’s note: There is a significant discrepancy between the total case number that appears on the county’s GIS map and the official numbers reported by the State Department of Health and the county itself in its daily update documents. County officials said yesterday the map’s numbers include some positive antibody tests.

There have been 1,863 confirmed COVID deaths in Suffolk as of May 21; 1,814 of those deaths were Suffolk residents.

As of May 21 there were 767 COVID deaths in Suffolk’s long-term care facilities. That number includes 52 presumed, though not confirmed, cases. It does not include nursing home residents who died of the disease in hospitals.

Town of Riverhead Update on… by RiverheadLOCAL on Scribd

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.