Riverhead Town plans to formally end state of emergency after 15 months

Every five days dating back to the beginning of March 2020, Riverhead Town has renewed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the pandemic, as have municipalities across the country.

Now, the end appears in sight.

Police Chief David Hegermiller and Town Board members discussed ending the state of emergency during Thursday’s work session, on the day it would be renewed for the 92nd time.

“Imagine that,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said. “Every five days we had to create one.”

“Never had that happen before,” Chief Hegermiller added. “My bet was that we wouldn’t go over 100.”

To formally end the state of emergency, the Town Board plans to vote on a resolution for a public hearing at its upcoming meeting Tuesday.

“I think we should move on it,” Ms. Aguiar said.

Riverhead already reopened Town Board meetings and Town Hall facilities as of late May. The executive order had allowed the meetings to be closed to the public and were instead broadcast via Zoom and on Channel 22. Nearly all the restrictions related to the state of emergency have been lifted, rendering it mostly moot.

“Really the only one that’s left in there now is no day passes, no nonresident passes for beach permits,” Chief Hegermiller said. “That is something I think that we want to do continue throughout the year.”

He said to do so, the town can continue to renew the state of emergency or to change the town code.

Southampton Town lifted its state of emergency as of May 15.

The chief said the town’s decision on a state of emergency is not impacted by executive orders from the state. A state of emergency from the state is currently in effect through July 5.


Chief Hegermiller discussed an overview of the May crime statistics for the Police Department and noted there have been no fatalities due to opioid overdoses this year.

“There have been overdoses, but no fatalities,” he said.

There were three overdoses police responded to in May, he said. Narcan, a medicine used to treat overdoses, was used in those cases, the chief said.