The on-going public health threat of the novel coronavirus is causing major disruptions to many aspects of our lives.  As challenging as these disruptions can be, strong efforts now to tamp down the potential exponential spread of the virus can result in much fewer illnesses and a shortened duration of disruptions.  I encourage all of us to adhere to the personal hygiene and social distancing measures that are being advised. 

While the newly imposed restrictions, the canceling of so many activities and events and the abrupt change in daily routine is a bit disorienting, we can take comfort in knowing that we live in a community that has a strong tradition of pulling together when the need arises.  In this case, the new actions should be more on an individualized basis given the need to avoid group activities but there are still ways to support each other.  For example, the Council on Aging, through the efforts of COA Director Nancy Hammand, is helping to match up people who can run errands for more senior residents who are at greater risk doing food shopping or other essential errands.  Another example is Allen’s Pharmacy could use help in their home delivery of prescription drugs during this time. 

Be supportive of our local businesses.  While we can no longer have a meal at a restaurant we can still order meals to go or purchase gift certificates.  Other local stores have on-line ordering capabilities similar to the larger national companies. 

We continue to provide municipal services to residents.  While Town Hall is closed to the public, staff are still working and can be reached by phone or email.  We are regularly disinfecting our work place and will be migrating to more and more tele-commuting as time goes on.  We have many services that can be accessed on-line.  If you have a service need please call the appropriate department and we will arrange ways to meet your needs. 

As you may have heard, we must postpone the Annual Town Meeting for now – state law allows the moderator to do so in 30 day increments.  We will be determining the new date later but it is likely to be in May or June.  And various board and committee meetings will be moving to an on-line platform.  Any member of the public will be able to log into a given meeting and participate in real time.  Details of how to log in will be provided on the posted agendas which are available on-line.  More information regarding this process will be forthcoming soon.

Maintaining the health and safety of residents and town staff is the highest priority we have.  Other town matters can wait. We may need to stagger staffing to ensure we have a pool of healthy workers at any given time.  If you need medical assistance and call 911, we have a protocol in place to ascertain whether you may have symptoms of COVID 19.  If you do, our Fire Fighter/EMTs will respond with extra precautions in place.  It is important that we keep our emergency responders healthy so that they remain available throughout the duration of this public health crisis. 

We all have a part to play in beating back this virus.  At the risk of repeating, it is critical to practice the social distancing norms being advanced, to stay home if you are not feeling well and to keep washing those hands! 

We can use today’s technologies to stay connected and to continue to ensure municipal services continue.  These are not the easiest of times but with compassion, a bit of patience and creative approaches to the challenges before us we will get to the other end of this, hopefully sooner rather than later. Stay healthy and offer a helping hand to a neighbor who may need some extra TLC.