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Old Home Day still on schedule

May 20, 2020
Old Home Day will remain on its scheduled day for now, with the selectmen saying they want to wait before making any decisions otherwise. This is one of many different considerations being made by the Parks and Recreation Department in the face of the pandemic.

Last Wednesday, Town Administrator Scott Dunn updated the board on the status of Parks and Recreation programs and facilities given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dunn said another significant consideration is what will happen with Old Home Day. Old Home Day is currently scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29, though Dunn said the Old Home Day Committee is in limbo about whether the event should be canceled or rescheduled and asked if the selectmen had any input in this. He said with the pandemic most communities in the state have already canceled their Old Home Days.

The selectmen overall supported keeping Old Home Day scheduled as is.

Board Chair Chan Eddy said Old Home Day has an advantage of being one of the latest in the state and there could be less of an issue later in the summer unless there is a surge of cases. He also addressed the possibility that the virus could "deactivate" in warm, humid weather.

"I'm more inclined to go for it — at least have a little bit of normalcy this summer, despite what's going on — but that's jus my three cents worth," Eddy said.

Selectman Kevin Hayes said he was also in favor of keeping the date and waiting before making any decisions to postpone or cancel it.

In the meantime, Parks and Recreation is working with the town to make different decisions about its programming and facilities. Eddy said the department is still monitoring what will happen with its summer programs, but said it will likely be seriously impacted.

The tennis courts have recently been opened, though the playgrounds and basketball courts are still closed.

Dunn has been talking with Parks and Recreation director Herb Greene about the town beach reopening, including not putting in picnic tables or the swim raft. Selectman Gus Benavides asked why the raft wasn't being put in and if the potential risks from coronavirus outweighs it safety benefits. Dunn said it is impossible to socially distance on that raft and the number one reason for most rescues is people swimming to the raft who do not have the stamina to do so. He said not having the raft there won't eliminate the issue but could alleviate it. Dunn said they didn't want to take this step and could the raft in if the board wanted it there.

"In my opinion, gentlemen, like anything else in this COVID world, we're going to have to take things as they come along," Benavides said. "We can always change something."

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