Lifting COVID-19 rules is like ‘a bear coming out of hibernation’

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ROSENDALE – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions as 70 percent of the state’s adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

  Unvaccinated individuals must still wear masks in stores, barbershops, gyms, and amusement facilities, and large-scale indoor events, schools, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care facilities must comply with existing health protocols and CDC guidelines.

This Rosendale Theater was closed last year, but it is expected to reopen this year to a new public landscape, to include more live events and movies, with the protection to keep it safe.

“It’s complicated because we want to make sure our patrons are completely safe and the staff is completely safe,” said Fre Atlast, president of the board of the Rosendale Theater.

Fre Atlast

A new and long overdue air filtration and air ventilation systems are being installed, and some painting has been done. And some new space has been created, including a small dance floor, she said.

Jay Kahn, a member of the theater board of trustees and co-chair of the programming committee for the Rosendale Theater, is taking a wait-and-see approach to the post-COVID world.

“It is like a bear coming out of hibernation now and it is the old touch and feel. We will see what the new norm, if there is ever a norm, is going to be. It is new for everybody,” he said.

A memorabilia sale July 3, to include tin ceiling tiles and seats, will be conducted to help pay for the new improvements. 

The theater also benefitted from a volunteer workforce and donated materials to help it reemerge to a post-Covid society.

“Everyone is very excited, very anxious for us to open,” said Atlast. “The community has been very generous with their time, their energy and their support.”

 There was optimism at the theater, but Kathryn Culley, who owns Vision of Tibet on Main Street, which sells Himalayan crafts, is waiting for the comeback.

The past year has been pretty hard, she said.

“We were closed for three months or so,” she said, “and business has not been so great.”

Yet is now a common sight in most stores to see many without masks. Now it’s a matter of more foot traffic from the street, but Culley has not been encouraged by that as we have tried to ease back to normal.

  Still, she wants to return to a life this year without the restrictions and apprehension to keep people and their health safe from a viral predator. “I sure hope so,” she said.