While Connecticut Covid-19 numbers continue thankfully to decline, area businesses are carefully beginning to reopen, residents are venturing out (hopefully masked), and Cornwall non-profits continue supporting our community, with a few adjustments.

The Cornwall Library began welcoming patrons on ‪July 1, much to the delight of quarantine-freed cardholders. A safety plan was developed in light of guidance from the Governor’s Office and the CT State Library, limiting the number of people allowed in the facility and length of stay. Social distancing, hand washing, and masks are required and all materials should be returned via the book drop box. At this time, the Library unfortunately cannot allow children under age 10 to enter. Director Margaret Haske told me, “We are very eager to open but we don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way. I believe our plan will keep everyone safe and make the Library available once again.”  Activities and events will continue to be available via Zoom with the exception of Peter Vermilyea’s final talk on voting rights on August 17. His presentation will be live “with social distancing measures, etc., carefully enforced.” The Library’s hours may vary depending on staffing availability.

Meanwhile, over at the Hughes / West Cornwall Public Library and Union, there are currently no plans for the summer, but they are busy “working on ideas for the long term.”

Current events have not curtailed the mission of The Cornwall Foundation, “dedicated to enhancing life in Cornwall through grant funding for organizations in need.” President Rob Lacy told me that the board of directors has held three special meetings via conference calls since the beginning of April, in addition to its regular May meeting “in order to consider time-sensitive grant applications arising from the pandemic.” Six pandemic-related grants have been awarded.

Overall, the COVID-19 virus did not disrupt activities at the Cornwall Historical Society, as they were already closed to the public during the winter/spring months. They opened doors to visitors ‪on July 4th with an exhibit by CCSU student curator Georgia Exner celebrating the passage of the 19th amendment and women’s suffrage. CHS will be open only on Saturdays from 10am – 4pm. Explained CHS Curator Suzanne Fateh, “We won’t have Sunday hours because we would need to use volunteers, nearly 100% of whom are in the high-risk group.” Precautions will be in place to protect staff and the public. Only seven visitors will be allowed in the building at one time and all visitors will be required to wear masks (they’ll have a supply just in case) in order to enter the museum. Along with decals on the floor, staff will be on hand to make sure social distancing is maintained and there will be hand sanitizer on the welcome desk.

Katherine Freygang responded to us on behalf of the Cornwall Conservation Trust. Their offerings are usually in the form of hikes with guides, gatherings in office art gallery, trail and road cleanups and a large annual meeting in the fall. The first event of the year had to be moved online, a show of stories and art about foxes, coyotes and wolves (deadlines remain open for added submissions). Trail cleanups are conducted on an individual basis, as CCT will not be assembling as a crew at this time. For now, guided hikes have been suspended but they will be attempting a Zoom presentation or two, annual meeting included. Guidelines for trailheads are as follows:

  • Restrict gatherings to five people
  • Practice social distancing, six or more feet
  • Keep your germs to yourself: wear a mask when closer, sneeze in your sleeve, and use hand sanitizer often
  • Take out what you bring in
  • Relax and Enjoy!

A nice sentiment to end our update.

—Jacque Schiller