With about 900 power outages in the Town of East Hampton, officials decided to keep warming centers open through Sunday morning.
Town Hall opened on Saturday morning, followed by the Montauk Playhouse Community Center, to allow people a warm place and to charge up their cellphones. Though attendance has not been low, the locations will remain open.
Bruce Bates, the town's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, said the Playhouse will be open through the morning, while staff will make a decision about Town Hall, based on attendance at 12:30 a.m. "If we've got nobody there, we're probably going to wrap it up," he said.
Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said only a few people used Town Hall on Saturday.
Town employees are staffing the two warming centers, which are not the same as shelters. "We do not provide cots, we don't have blankets or food," Bates said. "But if people want to bring their own food and hang out, they are more than welcome."
Bates said he and town officials will reassess in the morning whether to continue to keep the warming centers open based on the number of power outages.
"We've been speaking with LIPA," he said. "We're hopping they are going to make excellent progress by then."
Bates responded to some of the criticism the town received regarding not opening a shelter. He said, the town does not have the resources to open up shelter locations all over town in anticipation of a storm. "If we open up East Hampton High School as a shelter, and Montauk gets hit hard, those residents are going to be traveling to East Hampton," he said. "We're doing the best we can," he said.
Diane Patrizio and members of the Human Services Department, which runs the Senior Center and Adult Day Care Center, did "a mass calling" on Saturday to check on seniors and special needs residents, Bates said. Over the years, the department has accumulated a list of clients who need or want to be checked on. The department called them before the storm on Thursday and Friday, as well, to see if they needed anything.
During the calls today, only one person reported having no power, Bates said, "And, he said he had a wood stove and plenty of food and didn't need any help."
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