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Hoping to keep things ‘as normal as possible’

Village of Malverne sees an uptick of coronavirus cases

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Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett announced the village’s first three confirmed cases of coronavirus on March 24. The total had increased to 19 as the Herald went to press on Monday.

“I must caution that over the next few days, those numbers will increase,” Corbett said on Malverne TV when he announced those first cases. “You will start to have friends or family that have contracted the coronavirus, and then it will start to hit home a little more. I want everyone to stay calm, remain vigilant and be safe.”

The reason the village has kept the number of cases low up to this point, he said, is that residents have heeded the village board’s warnings to stay home. Two weeks ago, the village instituted “Malverne get and go”: Residents who are in need of food or supplies should go straight to the store, and then straight home.

Last week, village officials kicked off an “In the Community” series, in which they visit and showcase restaurants that offer curbside service. “It’s important that we continue to support these businesses in a safe way,” Corbett said. “They are the lifeblood of our commercial districts.”

Connolly Station owner Jerry Hughes said that all businesses have felt the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The community’s support over the years, Hughes said, is what keeps him hopeful. “I just put a lot of money into the outside of the building,” he said, “and my business was probably the best it’s ever been in the 23 years that I’ve been here. So be it. We’ll get through this and get out on the other end.”

Mark Maier, co-owner of the Brick Café, said he was thankful for the village board for promoting local businesses. “We try to do our best here at the Brick to keep business as normal as possible,” Maier said, adding that meal specials are posted on the café’s Facebook page.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking on Sunday in Albany, extended a directive that keeps all non-essential workers at home through April 15. The order came as the total number of COVID-19 cases statewide reached nearly 60,000, with almost 6,500 of those cases in Nassau County. The peak of the crisis for the metropolitan area, Cuomo said, is expected in two or three weeks.

Corbett told residents that all playgrounds and basketball courts in the village were closed, but everything is disinfected on a daily basis, based on orders from the county and the state’s Department of Health. The village’s parks, however, are still open.

Malverne is also working with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to coordinate the efforts of the village’s Emergency Medical Services unit to keep residents safe. “It is this board’s first priority — Deputy Mayor [Perry] Cuocci, Trustee [John] O’Brien, Trustee [Lauren] Touchard, Trustee [Tim] Sullivan and myself — to keep you safe,” Corbett said.

“By staying home, we protect those battling for us on the frontline: doctors, nurses, first responders, law enforcement, truck drivers, grocery store employees, etc.,” Curran tweeted on Monday morning.