Dear Editor and Fellow Manchester Residents:
Due to the COVID-19 emergency and acting pursuant to state law, on March 17, 2020, I postponed Manchester’s Annual Town Meeting scheduled for April 6 by issuing a Declaration of Recess and Continuance. Under the applicable statute, the moderator can postpone a town meeting only in increments of 30 days or less. On April 7, I extended that postponement until May 11 but said that I expected to issue additional continuances of up to thirty days each to defer the meeting until it could be held safely. On April 28, Governor Baker extended the state of emergency in the Commonwealth until May 18. Today, I have issued another Declaration of Recess and Continuance rescheduling the Annual Town Meeting until June 8.
Consulting with the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Health, we have concluded that it may be safe to hold the meeting on June 22 at the Manchester Essex Regional Middle/High School. I therefore intend to issue at least one additional postponement with June 22 as the tentative target date, subject to the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the Selectmen and the Board of Health, I have considered specific venues at the Middle/High School. We have concluded that the football field is the preferred site if various logistical issues can be addressed. It would allow for much greater separation than six feet between attendees, in the open air rather than in a confined space. The weather is an obvious consideration, but if it requires a postponement from June 22, we would announce a rain date as early as a reliable weather forecast would permit.
I urge residents to take all essential precautions. Be well.
Alan Wilson, Town Moderator