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City of Cortland Enters Phase 4 Openings 6/26/2020

The Phase 4 guidlines apply to non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen, essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open, and commercial and recreational activities that have been permitted to operate statewide with restrictions.

  • Higher Education
  • Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Media Production

We are happy to share the news that the City of Cortland will enter Phase 1 Openings with the CNY Region which includes Cortland, Onondaga, Cayuga, Madison and Oswego Counties.  This means that our region has met the minimums standards for health facilities and testing to begin the return of services to the area.  The Phases allow specific businesses and services to operate under specific guide lines. You can see what can open under each category by clicking on the blue links. Phase 1 includes: 



Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

Retail - (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)


Wholesale Trade

All Phase 1 Openings are required to have a Business Reopening Plan.  This template is available from New York State.  City of Cortland will require any business or representative of a business working in Cortland to have a copy of their plan at the site of work and available for review. Businesses not having an available plan will be asked to stop work until the plan is complete and available on site.  For those who will be using services please understand that to reopen these businesses have worked hard to put the required precautions in place.  Please assist them in complying. 

An example:  In-store pickup is defined as a customer placing an order for specific item(s) by phone or internet in advance, then collecting such order at the retail location.  The retail location must abide by physical distancing requirements which prohibit occupancy within the location to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy, including both employees and customers.  Customers are only allowed on the premise to retrieve their prearranged order; not to browse or place an in-person order.  Customers must maintain 6 feet of space from others or wear an acceptable face covering, if unable to maintain such distance.​

NYS has a FAQ page or City of Cortland specific questions can be directed to the Code Enforcement Office Mon-Fri 830-430 PM @ 607-753-1741 or Fire Department Headquarters @ 607-756-5612 Weekend during business hours.


What Changed to Keep Our Community Safe?

The Chiefs and Captains meet each month to make sure the needs of the community are being met and what can be done to improve operations and services.  Early on the department was already following the Covid 19 trends and beginning to work with other departments to determine what measures could be taken to keep the community and the firefighters safe.  Policies were shared and by the Captains Meeting and plans put in the works to best prepare for Covid 19. 

The next 2 days would alter the course of the department.  Much of what was familiar would become history.  Our new normal will be what we tell the next generation about. Our firefighters have to lead the way in teaching people how to be safe. We have taught CPR and many community safety programs (CPR before Covid 19 pic). The need to teach our community about keeping the Coronavirus at bay is key to keeping our citizens safe. Here are some things that our firefighters are doing every day to make sure we stay healthy for our community.

training before

The first big change for our staff was to split the crews to the smallest safe working group we could. This means that 2 firefighters are on emergency vehicles at Headquarters, Station 2 and now the Armory. 

We also moved from changing shifts morning and evening to 24 hours shifts so we would have fewer people exposed each day. Our office staff is working from home to protect them and the Officers are each in separate offices to meet social distance requirements. Our code officers work off site and rotate into the office on an as needed basis. Our volunteers were asked to stay at home and respond from there rather than taking a shift at the fire stations. Even this would only be for the most serious calls to protect them and their families.


armorystation 2 c2000 CC



no visitors sign

  For the first time since September 11, 2001 we locked our doors but this time we politely requested no visitors come to the fire stations.  Meetings are digital now. No in person meetings for weeks.  Everyone is learning new technology skills. The stations communicate by phone and webinar. We are finding ways to use the digital technology to share training.

new hires

Our newest career firefighters are learning necessary skills in a 1:1 setting to limit risk. They will have to wait for Fire Academy to reopen but new captainare learning much here and they are EMTs responding to our sick citizens. Both have served as volunteer staff here before but it is different now. We would have had a ceremony to celebrate their arrival and welcome their families but now that will have to wait.

Our new Captain was sworn in with just the Mayor and Chief present as required. Usually these new officers would be surrounded by the department, friends and family. This will have to wait too.



Morning tempsEven the daily routine has changed. No one gets in the door without a temperature check.  

Morning chores are now done several times a day. The bleach and disinfectant smell is second only to the scent of hand sanitizer. Hands are washed so often that hand lotion has become a fire house staple even more important than coffee……floors are mopped, table and counters wiped, phones, computers remote controls. No surface is immune to the wrath of a disinfecting cloth. No uniforms are worn in or out as firefighters come to and leave work and they are beginning to be speckled by bleach.



                                                                                                           Dishes are dipped in bleach and left to dry. Kitchen bleach


Meals are eaten with an emphasis on social distance. Fire trucks and response vehicles are decontaminated after each call. Offices all have a supply of disinfecting supplies living on desktops within easy reach.


donated masks


Each day staff search for sources of supplies that will be necessary to protect the staff. We save masks for reuse when we can and wash the items that can safely be rewashed. We are grateful for those who have provided masks, gowns and face shields. We know that that is a sacrifice on their part to keep us safe.

 donning PPE


All of these things we do to protect ourselves so that we can be there for the community. We do however, ask that in return the community does what it can to protect itself too. Please stay home unless it is an urgent need, plan with other neighbors for groceries and other necessary items so fewer people are in the stores exposed. If you wear a mask or gloves make sure to wash your hands before and after so nothing else is contaminated. Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Most importantly stay at home unless you absolutely must expose yourself. If you have to then maintain at least 6 feet between you and anyone else. We do all these things in the fire station to be there when you need us; please take the time to do them for yourself and your family.

Cortland Fire Department

21 Court Street
Cortland, NY 13045

Station 2 
19 S Franklin St 
Cortland, NY 13045

In Emergencies

Call 911

©2021 City of Cortland Fire Department