Oswego County declares local State of Emergency ahead of eclipse

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup has declared a local State of Emergency for April 8, the day of the total solar eclipse.

“Oswego County is situated in the ‘path of totality’ for this rare event, which means that the eclipse will be viewable in every corner of our county,” said Chairman Weatherup. “As a result, our population is expected to temporarily double in size with visitors coming from around the world to experience it with us. While this is an exciting occasion, we also want to make sure that our residents and visitors are all able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event safely and with as little disruption as possible.”

The chairman is also expected to issue and Emergency Order later in the week of April 1. This will close all county facilities and buildings — except for necessary essential operations — on April 8.

This includes:

  • DMV
  • Department of Solid Waste transfer station
  • Bristol Hill Landfill
  • Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

According to the Department of Social Services (DSS), anyone experiencing homelessness will still be able to call “211” for assistance on April 8. The Health Department (HD) reminds residents that if they are experiencing public health or environmental issues, they can call the after-hours answering service at 315-341-0086 and on-call staff will be ready to respond.

As for the Office for the Aging (OFA) all seniors’ home delivered meals will come an hour earlier than usual on eclipse day. This excludes Oswego City residents, who will receive an extra meal with their Friday (April 5) delivery.

Also, all OFA congregate dining sites in Fulton, Parish and Phoenix will serve lunch at 11 a.m. instead of noon and seniors are encouraged to depart meal sites by 1 p.m. There will be no transportation to congregate dining sites that day.

The Oswego County Airport will be closed for vehicle traffic on April 8, and the staff will only be working with fly-in visitors.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Coordinator reminds drone pilots to check with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be aware of first responder drones in the air to ensure public safety.

No public transit will be ran with the Office of Mobility Management. This avoids having riders on buses for long amounts of time due to traffic backups during the eclipse.

“The Emergency Order and coordinated closures are strictly precautionary safety measures related to the high traffic volumes we’re anticipating and possible communications disruptions we may experience due to a large number of data users overwhelming the capacity of nearby cellular towers,” Chairman Weatherup said. “Please keep in mind that these conditions would only be temporary. There is no need to panic or hoard supplies, so don’t rush out to the stores and clear out their shelves.

The Chairman reminds people to prepare for crowds with the following tips:

  • Reschedule appointments, if possible, to avoid traffic delays.
  • Fill up gas tanks early to avoid long lines at the gas station.
  • Get groceries this weekend to avoid crowded stores.
  • Make sure your phone is charged and not in airplane mode to enhance cell service.
  • Have a landline or WiFi signal available for back-up communications.

“We simply want to make people aware of the fact that there will be a significant influx of people into our area,” he added. “That means increased traffic on our roadways, possible dropped calls or busy signals, and likely longer lines and wait times at traffic lights, gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.”

It is encouraged that residents get what they need to do, done before the eclipse.

For more information about the eclipse including eye safety, schedule changes, events, pet tips and general readiness, CLICK HERE.

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