Town officials are considering the best way to reopen Town Hall, the library, the senior center, and other municipal departments in the wake of restrictions that were imposed as the coronavirus spread during the past year.
“Town Hall employees have been available to provide services to citizens throughout the entire pandemic, either online or meeting them at the front door,” Town Manager Philip Lemnios told the Board of Selectmen this week.
The approach has been cautious, he explained, because “once COVID enters a building it could put an entire department out of commission, as has happened in some other towns.” It was noted that it is difficult to socially distance at Town Hall because the building is relatively small.
Lemnios acknowledged that while the town now being in the coronavirus high-risk red zone (according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health statistics) could be an issue, “we are trending toward an early June [limited] reopening with COVID-19 restrictions in place, such as one person at the counter at a time in Town Hall.”
The reopening of the library and senior center will be a separate discussion because the elderly population is considered to be more at risk than the general population and the library has a relatively small footprint.
Director of Elder Services Lisa Thornton is looking into the possibility of holding some outdoor programming, with social distancing and other safety protocols in place.
Throughout the pandemic, Meals on Wheels and the Better Together hot-meals program continue to be offered, along with grant-funded transportation for seniors who are hesitant to ride in the senior center’s van with others during the pandemic.
“The library has some challenges in terms of separating people, but they are offering pickup services on the front porch for library materials that are reserved ahead of time,” Lemnios said.