October 24, 2021

Safety urged as Labor Day weekend approaches

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You may not want to admit it, but summer is coming close to an end. And as Labor Day weekend approaches, and with the rise of cases from the Delta variant, local, state and national officials are urging people to act safely.

Despite a popular time for friends and family to gather, the Cortlandville Fire Department hasn’t responded to many large fires during the Labor Day weekend, Chief Gere Henry said Tuesday.

“We’ve been fortunate the last five or six years,” he said. “People have been very safe.”

As opposed to last year, Henry said more people are likely to gather with each other as people have become vaccinated and gathering restrictions have loosened.

Conditions this weekend will start on the sunny and cool side before shifting over to chances of rain, said Adam Gill, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton.

Friday and Saturday will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60s and lower 70s, before Sunday brings a chance of showers and a high of 75 degrees, he said.

Labor Day itself could bring scattered thunderstorms with a high of 72 degrees.

Considering the amount of rain Cortland County has gotten during August, the risk of fire spreading this weekend is pretty low, Gill said.

Despite this, Henry still said people should follow these tips when grilling:

• Make sure the grill is away from the house.
• Don’t grill in enclosed areas, like garages.
• Make sure fires are fully out when you are done.

Even though restrictions for gatherings have loosened around the county since Labor Day 2020, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still encourage that gatherings with people from other households remain outdoors to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If people gather inside, the CDC recommends that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, especially in areas with high levels of transmission — which is almost all of New York state.

The Cortland County Health Department reported 44 new positive cases for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, bringing the number of current positive cases to 146. Those numbers come as only 49.1% of the county’s 47,823 residents have fully completed their COVID-19 vaccine series,
according to the state COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

Additionally, the police agencies, including the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office and Cortland Police Department, will crack down on impaired driving as part of the state STOP DWI New York’s High Visibility campaign until Sept. 6, according to a release from the sheriff’s office, which suggests people who plan to drink over the weekend have a plan to return home safely.

One way people can plan is through the STOP DWI Have a Plan phone app, which allows people to connect with friends, provide links to taxi services nearby and test motor skills to determine how impaired they are.

To download the app, visit www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp.