Officials take pulse of Middletown business community with walking tour

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Rep. Sean Maloney and Mayor Joseph DeStefano chat with Fred Williams, owner of 6 West Barber Shop during a walking tour of the Middletown Business District

MIDDLETOWN— Officials from federal, state, county and city GOVERNMENTS toured the City of Middletown Thursday afternoon, to check in on local businesses and assess how they have been fairing since reopening has occurred in various localities across the state.

During the tour, various business owners spoke with the officials about things ranging from new procedures with masks, to social distancing, to state and federal assistance.

In downtown Middletown, the responses were positive regarding the way the various levels of government have responded to the crisis, specifically within the city and the state.

Fred Williams, owner of 6th West Barber Shop, said he has found that patrons have been very compliant with the use of masks and social distancing. He shared that he had encountered some issues with applying for PPP; but, New York and Middletown have been doing right by the city’s business community in his experience and it was a great show of faith to have Representative Sean Maloney (D, NY-18) show up at his shop with his local elected officials and follow up on prior promises he had made.

“It’s good to have that bond and gap that bridge between the community and officials. I think that’s really cool that he came by,” said Williams. “He gave a call yesterday and somebody stopped by the shop. I’m glad he followed up and made his way over. He held his word about it,” he said.

Maloney said although this situation has been life or death for many in the Hudson Valley, he found much of the business community he met in the city has been optimistic, but others are still afraid seeing the uptick in COVID 19 cases happening across the country recently.

“Nobody wants to be in this position and it’s been a rough stretch, we know that and there’s a lot of people suffering; but, I think right now, people feel cautiously optimistic- that if we can just keep getting better, we’re all going to get through it,” said Maloney. “I think where people get scared is, they look at what’s going on in other parts of the country and they say, ‘Well, if we have to go backwards, how are we going to do this,” and that’s why we’ve just got to be smart. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing because it’s working,” he said.

Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano added that luckily, the city has been in the position to have enough saved to make it through this, but 2020 will be another animal.

The mayor, Maloney, Senator Jen Metzger (D-Rosendale) and County Executive Steven Neuhaus all took the walking tour of downtown and agree that more federal funding is going to be necessary for small cities, towns and villages come 2021.

The House of Representatives is currently on a pseudo-recess, working remotely, but Maloney said they will be back in the coming weeks to address what will be done to account for COVID-19 complications going on for longer than anticipated.