July 09, 2020WOLFEBORO — Town Manager Jim Pineo unveiled a plan to the board on July 1 for a "soft opening" of the Town Hall, to begin on July 6 with entrance by appointment only to all offices.
A staff member is being trained to assure safe flow and occupant load, and by July 13, residents will be able to once again enter through the front doos, where they will be met by a greeter. The greeter will direct citizens to the appropriate offices.
Pineo said masks will be strongly encouraged and there will be markings on the floor to delineate spacing for the CDC's recommended six foot distance. The tax collector and town clerk's offices will have plexiglass barriers in place for protection from possible spread of the Covid-19 virus.
"People need to be forewarned that masks might not be worn by some people because it is not mandated," stated Selectman Linda Murray, who expressed concern for members of the population who may be more vulnerable or in a high risk category for becoming infected by Covid-19.
"I presume we can't require masks, but shop owners can require [the wearing of masks]," added Selectman Paul O'Brien.
People in those higher risk populations are encouraged to call ahead to arrange an appointment to be met at the back door, use the drop box outside that is monitored hourly, or complete transactions online.
Pineo pointed out that the building is not structured to meet physical distancing very well, so he urges residents to come into the building with documents already signed. A pen will be provided if needed, which the resident may keep. There will be a single station in the Great Hall where people can fill out documents with a clerk.
"If we experience a spike [in Covid-19 cases], the building could close down," said Pineo.
"We have some high risk employees," he added, and they have to be protected.