Poughkeepsie, NY … With New York State recently lifting its COVID-19 state of emergency, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro will host his 74th and final virtual town hall forum about the pandemic on Wednesday, June 30th. The County Executive invites residents and media to join him – in person or online – for the conversation, which will emanate from Bowdoin Park’s Pavilion 5, beginning at 3 p.m.
As with his previous 73 online forums, Wednesday’s event will be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page, and American Sign Language interpreters will be present to translate the conversation.
County Executive Molinaro said, “For years, I have enjoyed meeting with Dutchess County residents to discuss the issues that matter to them, and since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our virtual town hall forums allowed us to continually inform our community while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. These online conversations have been invaluable tools to apprise multitudes of residents simultaneously on the latest pandemic-related developments, while providing answers to their questions.
“Through our exhaustive efforts to vaccinate Dutchess County residents, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in the County’s active COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths and have been able to return to many of our pre-pandemic activities – thus no longer requiring frequent live updates. I thank the tens of thousands of residents who have viewed our online discussions and we will return to town hall forums this autumn during the 2022 County budget process.”
Since taking office in 2012, County Executive Molinaro has hosted 185 town hall forums – both in person and virtually – to engage residents and answer their questions about myriad countywide topics of interest to them, including his yearly State of the County, the annual County budget process and adoption, mental health and the County’s ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative, among others.
Beginning in March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic in Dutchess County, County Executive Molinaro hosted weekly virtual town hall forums to update residents on COVID-related topics include the County’s response, testing options and countywide metrics, state-mandated restrictions and re-opening phases, and, most recently, vaccination distribution. These online discussions, attracting hundreds to thousands of residents at a time, were occasionally held twice-weekly, as developments warranted and participants had the opportunity to ask questions directly to the County Executive.
As the COVID pandemic began to recede with many county residents taking advantage of readily available vaccinations, the town halls forums were an opportunity to discuss other topics of interest to the public. In May 2021, County Executive Molinaro began his “Marc in the Parks” series, broadcasting his online forums from various County parks; such virtual conversations have originated from Dutchess Stadium and Quiet Cove Riverfront Park.
Wednesday’s event is residents’ opportunity to join the conversation in person, learn about the Dutchess County Parks system, among other topics, and ask questions in person to the County Executive. Seating for this rain-or-shine event is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. In keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks or face coverings are not required for residents attending this small, outdoor event, regardless of their vaccination status.
An archive of the County Executive’s previous online forums is available on the County’s YouTube page.