All across the country, elected town officials are being challenged managing their towns during the Coronavirus pandemic. East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc was kind enough to share his thoughts on this subject now that there are six weekends until Labor Day.
Supervisor Van Scoyoc took time out from his very busy schedule to answer some questions posed for him. Responding to what most pleased him about East Hampton citizens’ behavior this summer, the East Hampton Town Supervisor responded, “I have to say I am most pleased with the way our community has responded to the Covid-19 crisis. So many people have come together and donated or volunteered to help those in need. Whether it was making and distributing masks, meals, groceries, medication; people responded to meet the need. One of our most important tasks in government is to provide leadership that protects and serves. I have to say that I am so thankful that our community has followed the safety protocols and took our warnings to heart early on. This has resulted in the lowest rate of infection of any town on Long Island – next to ‘Shelter’ Island which has the lowest.”
Then, when asked what truly surprised him, Supervisor Van Scoyoc said, “In the earliest days it became clear that local town government would need to act decisively in order to prevent the spread of the disease in our community. I was most surprised that there was no national response. I still am.”
Due to the fluidness and complex nature of fighting the Coronavirus on a town level, the East Hampton Town Supervisor was direct when he explained, “There will be an ongoing need to address the impacts and consequences of the pandemic. We are likely to have a much larger year-round community for the foreseeable future. This will require adjustments, as will the unforeseen effects.” What he is addressing here is the forecasted prediction that more second home owners will be choosing not only to summer in the Hamptons, but remain all year-round, including sending their children to town schools until this pandemic is over.
Of course, there has to be some strong concerns moving forward. The East Hampton Town Supervisor responded, “I remain concerned about the health threat from a resurgence of Covid-19, as well as the economic impacts. There are many who will continue to struggle financially and those who find themselves isolated and alone. We need to continue caring for and helping each other to get through this very challenging time. That’s what East Hampton has always done when a crisis emerged.”
On a lighter note, when asked about his favorite location to spend his down-time, Supervisor Van Scoyoc opened up a touch and said, “My favorite spots are home and on my boat. I planted a vegetable garden for the first time since our children were young; it’s probably been 15 years. That has been a nice distraction with the added benefit of some really delicious food. I haven’t been out on the boat much, but the few times I have gone out the fishing has been excellent. Social distancing doesn’t get better than that in my opinion.”
“I cannot tell you where I fish, that is classified information,” he joked.
There is no doubt there is a challenge to running any town at any time. Perhaps the wisdom of Thomas Paine is apropos now as during American Revolutionary times when he wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”