ATM Public Health Advisory






APRIL 3, 2023




            The number of coronavirus infections has been steadily declining in Manchester, in Essex County and in Massachusetts in recent weeks.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now categorizes Essex County as at low risk for infection.  In addition, on January 30, the White House announced the termination of the public health and national emergencies effective May 11, 2023.  The decision to extend them to that date was based on allowing hospitals and other health care providers time and flexibility to prepare for the termination.

            Accordingly, I do not believe it is necessary or appropriate for me to exercise my authority under M.G..L Chapter 39, §§ 15 and 17 to impose masking or social distancing requirements for the Annual Town Meeting on April 3.  I do believe, however, that it is appropriate to suggest some common sense measures that I hope residents will observe.  I thank Dr. Martin Hahn for his help and the Manchester-by-the-Sea Board of Health for voting to approve this advisory at their meeting on March 9.


            Anyone who has tested positive for COVID within two weeks before the meeting or who has flu-like symptoms (cough, congestion, fever, etc.) should strongly consider not coming to the meeting.  Although only those who attend will be able to participate, each of us has an obligation to protect our neighbors.  The meeting will be videotaped by 1623 Studios for later rebroadcast.



            The Select Board has decided to hold the Meeting at Memorial School, using the combined gymnasium and cafeteria spaces.  We will have approximately 700 chairs for voters, the maximum capacity, without social distancing between chairs.  Wearing a mask reduces the risk of transmission.  Those who are especially vulnerable (for example the elderly, those who are immunosuppressed) should consider wearing masks.  We will reserve a space for those who wear masks and desire to sit only near others who are also masked.  The school will run its air handling system to maximize fresh air turnover.



            I encourage participants to arrive early to avoid the bottlenecks that occurred at the fall meeting when many voters arrived at 6:30 p.m.  Check-in will open at 5:30 p.m. – an hour before the meeting is scheduled to begin.  I have invited the Soundwaves (the Manchester-Essex High School a cappela singers) to perform during check-in, and they have graciously accepted.  In addition, the Town Clerk has arranged for more check-in stations to handle the process more expeditiously than in the fall.  Unless there are unforeseen problems, I intend to start the meeting promptly at 6:30 p.m.


            We will vote electronically as we have at recent town meetings.  As you may recall, there was a problem with the electronic voting system at the fall town meeting when we were in two rooms.  The connection between the voting laptops in each room failed repeatedly.  Resident Jim Starkey investigated the problem and worked with the vendor to identify the cause and correct the issue so that it will not recur, even if we use two rooms.  I extend my thanks to Jim.  Since we will be in one space for this meeting, it will not be an issue.

March 9, 2023

                                                                        Alan Wilson

                                                                        Town Moderator



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