Upcoming solar eclipse prompts NY State Corrections to cancel prison visits

NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is canceling visits to nearly two dozen facilities expected to be thrown into “total darkness” amid the solar eclipse on April 8.

Corrections officials announced Thursday that while all DOCCS facilities will be affected by the first total solar eclipse to darken New York in nearly a century, 23 of those facilities will “fall directly in the path of totality and will experience total darkness ranging from approximately one and a half minutes to approximately three and a half minutes.”

Visitation will therefore be canceled at maximum security facilities including Attica, Auburn, Clinton, Upstate and Wende. Visitation at sites not directly in the path of the eclipse will end at 2 p.m.

Oneida County officials said the next total solar eclipse expected to affect its county jail will come on Oct. 26, 2144, but that isn’t to say April 8 will be business as usual in the Syracuse area.

“If you plan to visit Oneida County for this rare event, please, come early and stay late,” County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said on Facebook. “The more we can avoid people coming and going all at once, the smoother and safer things will go for everyone.”

Traffic delays and interrupted cellular service that could impede emergency response are among the concerns expressed by Oneida County authorities.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Monday that officials are ready to host hundreds of thousands of visitors when the afternoon eclipse encompasses 29 counties in the western and northern parts of the state.

“The April 8 eclipse is a once-in-a-generation experience, and there’s no better place to view it than in our beautiful state,” the governor said. “I encourage anyone traveling for this experience to plan on arriving early to their destination and staying late to enjoy all of what our state has to offer.”