ITHACA, N.Y. –– As we head into Memorial Day weekend, county health officials are reminding the public to continue practicing social distancing during the holiday.

“This weekend is usually a time where we gather to pause and reflect on the heroes who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military,” Tompkins County Legislature Vice Chairwoman Shawna Black said during a live-streamed Town Hall meeting Thursday night. “If we continue to stay apart for now we will be together again soon.”

Governor Cuomo announced that only official Memorial Day ceremonies with limited gatherings of 10 or less people will be allowed. This may include some tributes, flag raisings, and small parades this weekend. All non-essential gatherings of any size are still prohibited under the NY Pause, including personal gatherings of individuals outside of immediate households.

J.R. Clairborne, director of the Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services said flags to mark veteran’s graves at local cemeteries have been distributed, but that many ceremonies have been postponed or canceled by local veterans organizations.

Many choose to spend their Memorial Day weekend outdoors, especially as the weather warms up. During the Town Hall Thursday, officials went over guidance from New York State on beaches and campgrounds, and how that will look locally.

While the Governor has allowed beaches to open, the Tompkins County environmental health team has confirmed that no beaches in Tompkins County are planning to be opened. Seasonal camping in RVs has been allowed in Tompkins County, and it was announced that RV camping for shorter stays will be allowed as well. This guidance aligns with limiting a need for shared spaces at campgrounds.

Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “We want to get people back to the things they love and want; we just want to make sure that we do it in the safest manner possible.”

If you have information on any Memorial Day ceremonies happening over the long weekend, send details or photographs to tips@ithacavoice.com. 

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com