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COVID-19: Upstate County Tells Downstate NYers To Take A Hike, But Not Here

Essex County, home to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks, is asking visitors to stay home.
Essex County, home to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks, is asking visitors to stay home. Photo Credit: EssexCounty.gov

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its march across the country, cities and towns large and small are asking visitors to stay away.

That includes Essex County in upstate New York that's super popular for its hiking and the beauty of the Adirondacks.

But with a recent influx of visitors fleeing New York City and other parts of the metro area, the county's Board of Supervisors issued a press release this week saying "visitors stay home."

"To date, we have seen an alarming influx of travelers from outside the county who are staying at second homes and short term rentals, like Airbnb and Vrbo," said Shaun Gillilland, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

"As a vaccine does not exist, we have limited capacity to test, our hospitals are small and incapable of handling additional influx and our stores and infrastructure are incapable of providing supplies to a larger population, we are asking that you respect the integrity of our hospitals and infrastructure and not travel to Essex County from any area at this time "

Currently, there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, which includes Lake Placid.

The board of supervisors said the tiny county just doesn't have the hospitals or resources for the spread of the virus, and worries visitors are infecting locals.

"Essex County is an extremely rural county with only 38,000 residents. We have few hospitals and those that we do have are not capable of handling an increased number of patients," the supervisor said.

They are also worried about overextending police and fire personnel. One example is a woman from out of the area who went hiking last week and had to be rescued by park rangers and a helicopter.

Visitors are violating the order of the governor that people stay home and stay put, the supervisor said.

The board has also asked property owners to refrain from renting their properties through Airbnb and Vrbo as a way to rein in the number of visitors.

The mountains, one local reportedly said, can wait.

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