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Northfield Oks plan to reopen Town Hall for public access

  • The Selectboard has approved a plan for reopening the Town Hall for public access with limited hours, or by appointment. STAFF FILE PHOTO/SHELBY ASHLINE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2020 12:12:44 PM

NORTHFIELD – The Selectboard has approved a plan for reopening Town Hall for public access with limited hours, or by appointment.

Selectboard members Monday discussed the plan, which has requirements for cleaning common areas and “touch points,” wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand washing or sanitizing and more.

Town Administrator Andrea Llamas said she has had several meetings with staff and department heads over the last few months, to discuss what they would like to see in a reopening plan.

“We talked about returning to work. Most employees have pretty much returned to work pretty consistently,” Llamas said Monday night. “They’re coming in as needed. Some people are back to regular hours.”

Llamas said the first step of the reopening process would see town employees set new hours and meet residents by appointment as needed. Public access will be allowed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Access may also be available by appointment any other time during the day. Llamas said the town hall custodian would clean common areas after noon, so the building would remain clean for employees who keep working after public access hours.

“If that works well, we can continue to expand that back towards our normal hours at some point,” Llamas said.

The town clerk had been holding appointments, due to the nature of his responsibilities. Llamas said they are still encouraging residents to call in with questions and mail in items when possible or appropriate, but they wanted to have in-person communication available.

Llamas said employees will still be encouraged to practice social distancing while working at Town Hall. She said they will not have to wear a mask if sitting at their desk, but they will be required to wear one on “the minute they get up to leave their space.”

Offices have also had plexiglass barriers installed. Most employees had been cleaning their own office space, Llamas said.

“They just felt it was safer, rather than having someone come in who touches somebody else’s office, and then touches your office,” she said.

When asked by newly elected Selectboard member Barbara “Bee” Jacque, Llamas said the plan would begin to roll out Aug. 10, and operate with limited hours and by appointment over the next three or four weeks. She said this will allow employees time to raise any concerns. They will reassess in early September.

Restrooms will not be opened to the public, Llamas said. The senior center will also remain closed to the public for the time being. According to Llamas, the Dickinson Memorial Library Board of Trustees is developing its own plan for reopening, and was scheduled to discuss this plan Tuesday night.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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