Town begins cautious reopening June 1
News icon

News

Share: 

03/13/2020

The COVID-19 situation is evolving and information below may no longer be in effect. Please see our COVID-19 Updates page for most recent information

Town announces suspension of programs, meetings to help prevent COVID-19 spread

The town has announced suspension of all Thomas Memorial Library and Community Services programming to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In addition, non-essential government meetings will be suspended for the next 30 days. These include meetings of the School Building Committee, Planning Board, Fort Williams Park Committee, Energy Committee, Thomas Memorial Library Committee and Board of Zoning Appeals.

"This action is being taken with an abundance of caution and in the desire to help protect the health of the community," said Town Manager Matthew Sturgis, and follow actions taken in Portland, Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, Yarmouth and other surrounding communities.

The Fitness Center will close beginning March 14, 2020 and remain closed until the end of March. The Richards Pool, however, will remain open as chlorine and chemicals in the pool will offset viruses. Community Services Cape Care and After Care will also remain open, but will follow the School Department if school is suspended.

Town Council budget meetings March 16 and 19 will be held as scheduled in the Town Hall chamber. "We will take steps within the Council Chamber to provide greater spacing between the tables and chairs, as well as spacing audience chairs by removing two thirds of them," said Sturgis in an email to members of the Town Council. - update 03/15/2020 - the budget meetings have been postponed to an April date TBD

Residents are encouraged to watch the meetings live and on-demand on CETV.

Superintendent Donna Wolfrom is consulting with the School Board chair to determine whether School Board meetings will proceed, Sturgis said.

These measures will be re-evaluated as the COVID-19 virus and risks to public health continue to evolve.

Here is a summary of announced actions (To be re-evaluated):

  • Thomas Memorial Library programming - Suspended until the end of March
  • Community Services programming - Suspended until the end of March
  • Fitness Center - Closed March 14 until the end of March
  • Meetings of the Recycling Committee, School Building Committee, Planning Board, Fort Williams Park Committee, Energy Committee, Thomas Memorial Library Committee and Board of Zoning Appeals - Suspended until April 13
  • Richards Pool - Open
  • Town Council meetings and budget workshops - Will be held as scheduled
  • Cape Care, After Care - Open

 


 

Here is the text of the town manager's announcement:

From: Matthew Sturgis <matthew.sturgis@capeelizabeth.org>
Date: Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 11:52 AM
Subject: Facilities and meeting updates in response to health concerns
To: Cape Elizabeth Town Council <cetowncouncil@capeelizabeth.org>


Dear Councilors,

This morning I spoke with Chair Adams regarding the regional response to the pandemic. All surrounding towns are postponing or cancelling meetings for up to 30 days, curtailing or postponing programming for at least two weeks up to thirty days, and working on best practices toward containment and social distancing. 

With that being said, we are taking actions in our operations by postponing all programming at Thomas Memorial Library and Cape Elizabeth Community Services through the end of March, to be re-evaluated at that time. This would also include closing the Fitness Facility effective tomorrow until the end of the month. The Cape Care program and after care program will continue, however, if the schools close for a period of time we are planning on mirroring their actions with Cape Care, after care, and the Thomas Memorial Library. At the present time, the pool will remain open as discussions held with more informed parties indicate that the chlorine and other chemicals used in the pool will offset viruses, however this will be an addiitonal item to keep monitoring and we may take similar steps. 

Surrounding communities are also postponing all non-essential meetings for the next 30 days. Portland for example has postponed a council meeting and workshop, while Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, and Yarmouth, for example have all taken similar steps. This would mean that we are taking steps to postpone all meetings, except next weeks two budget workshops, until April 13th (30 days). We will take steps to advertise this over the website and encourage people to view the budget workshops via online or the television channel. We will take steps within the Council Chamber to provide greater spacing between the tables and chairs, as well as spacing audience chairs by removing two thirds of them. We will have staff members who staff committees reach out to their chairs to discuss postponement to April. 

The meetings that will be postponed to their next date in April are School Building Committee, Planning Board, Fort Williams Park Committee, Energy Committee, Thomas Memorial Library Committee, and Zoning Board of Appeals. I have spoken with Superintendent Wolfram, and she will be speaking with the School Board Chair Altenburg on their budget workshops.

This action is being taken with an abundance of caution and in the desire to help protect the health of the community. We are looking at a major launch of this information on the Town's website, the social media outlets of the Town, and notification to the Press Herald.