The Dryden Town Council met over Zoom May 14 to discuss its response to summer recreation and its next phase of reopening.

The most pressing item on the agenda, moving ahead on the governor’s plan for reopening, was approved on Thursday. Currently, Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward plan proposes that each region consider reopening non-essential businesses in accordance with a health metric. The Southern Tier region has met the criteria to begin re-opening approved businesses as soon as May 15.

Enacting Phase I means that Dryden can expect to see construction, agricultural farming, retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade businesses reopen within the month. However, retail planning to open will be limited to curbside and in-store pickup or drop-off.

Cuomo’s plan listed seven categories of criteria that regions of the state were expected to meet for eligibility to re-open. Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Central New York and the Finger Lakes region have met all seven of the categories.

The Town Council also decided that summer youth recreation programs would be suspended this summer. The council said that it was not equipped to meet the requirement for a safe and healthy environment for workers and attendees financially or logistically.

“We need to think about budget, if we can even do it, which I think is impossible at this point. We’re going to have to hire a lot more people,” Marty Conger, Recreation Department Leader, said. “I have parents contacting me every day, wondering what’s happening. But even if we do wait and there’s some sort of guidelines on how we can have camp, there’s no way we can possibly make it work with the six feet apart rule, wearing masks, having dividers at lunchtime, cleaning everything after you touch it, no playground equipment, no trips. It just seems unrealistic to me.”

Dryden’s decision comes after Ithaca Youth Bureau, GIAC and Cortland Youth Bureau chose to suspend their summer programs, citing economic and logistic issues as well.

An alternative proposed by some on the council is to initiate a drive-in theatre series over the summer. The idea was inspired by drive-ins currently hosted at Arlington Acres and the Fingerlakes Drive-In. It is unclear whether the council intends to move forward with the idea.

The council said that it hopes to move on to Phase II by June, but for now it will focus on building a foundation for steadily opening up businesses included in Phase I and reopening the town hall and courthouse to the public.

The next town board meeting will be held on May 21, also over Zoom.

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