News from Town Hall
Chris Kersten Elected, Sworn in as Interim Supervisor
Chris Kersten was sworn in as Interim Hillsdale Supervisor on Thursday after being confirmed as the winner of the election for Town Supervisor. Kersten received 705 votes (61.6%) once absentee ballots were counted by the county, while Robina Ward received 439 (38.4%).

Since the town has had only a Deputy Supervisor since the end of July, all four town board members voted to make Kersten Interim Supervisor for the rest of the year. He was sworn in by Town Clerk Kathi Doolan outside of Town Hall in front of a small crowd of supporters. As Interim Supervisor, Kersten will now represent the town on the County Board of Supervisors. Kersten's official term as Town Supervisor starts January 1.

"I am honored to have been elected as your Town Supervisor," said Kersten in a statement posted on Facebook. "A record number of voters — over 1,100 — participated in this election, showing the vitality and involvement of our community. I’d like to offer my congratulations to Robina Ward for a creative and spirited campaign. Robina has given long and dedicated service to the Town, and I am looking forward to collaborating with her in the years ahead."

'The people have now spoken, and it’s time for all of us to come together in the service of the Town we love. A strong, united leadership effort will surely lead to significant progress. The voters expect no less."

In her Facebook post, Ward congratulated Kersten and also noted the record turnout of voters, calling it "the hallmark of an active, engaged citizenry and something every small town needs to thrive and to hold their elected officials accountable." She added "Nothing is more important to me than the work I do for Hillsdale, and I urge all citizens to remain involved and to support the Town Board for the betterment of our town."
COVID Cases Climbing in County
COVID cases in Columbia County are climbing back to levels last seen in the spring. “COVID-19 positive cases in the County continue to mount at a steady rate,” reports Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell.

On Friday, county Department of Health Director Jack Mabb reported that there were 18 new in-county positive cases of the virus on Thursday, and six on Friday. There are currently 117 active cases in the county, with 225 in mandatory quarantine and 27 hospitalized, including two individuals in ICU.

Since the start of the pandemic Hillsdale has had 19 confirmed positive cases.

“We are now definitely in the beginning stages of the surge that health officials have predicted for months,” said Chairman Murell. “It is up to all of us to wear our face masks, wash our hands, and social distance in an effort to keep the number of positive cases from rising.”

Earlier this week, the county Emergency Operations Center was activated in response to the increase in positive cases. “We’re now in a situation that equals or exceeds that of this past spring. We’re setting records on active cases and mandatory quarantines and I don’t see an end to it anytime soon. We can only do whatever we possibly can to slow things down,” said county Emergency Management Director David Harrison, Jr.
New NY State COVID Restrictions May Impact Thanksgiving Gatherings and Travel
The increase in COVID cases in New York State has resulted in new regulations on gatherings at private residences and travel to the state that should be taken into consideration when making Thanksgiving plans.

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo issued new COVID-19 restrictions, including that indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people. The limit will be implemented due to the recent prevalence of COVID spread resulting from small indoor gatherings including Halloween parties. These gatherings have become a major cause of cluster activity across the state.This public health measure brings New York State in line with neighboring states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. This new rule is effective today at 10 p.m.

Earlier in the month the governor issued a new travel advisory, and new mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 test requirements. There are exceptions for travel to states that border New York State, including Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

The governor also issued new COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, and gyms

Under the governor’s directive, effective today at 10 p.m., bars, restaurants, and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m., but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees as to what sales are continued to be permitted.