By Max Bowenemail@example.com
Following the news that mask mandates and capacity restrictions would soon end, Town Hall will fully open to the public at the beginning of June.
Earlier last week, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the state’s face covering order would be rescinded on May 29. All industry restrictions will be lifted, and capacity will increase to 100 percent for all industries. The gathering limit will be rescinded.
Town Manager Michael Borg said that the building will resume normal business hours five days a week and on that same day, though it won’t be accessible until June 1. This is due to Town Hall being closed on weekends and for Memorial Day.
“Right now it’s the old way of business in person and being accessible to the public,” said Town Manager Michael Borg. “We’ll be on the honor system for those that don’t wear masks.”
Town Hall has operated under different hours and scenarios since the onset of the pandemic. This has ranged from being open by appointment only to open four days a week, with masks and social distancing required. After June 1, face coverings won’t be required, though the social distancing markers on the floor will remain for those that wish to adhere to it. No proof of vaccination will be needed.
Borg said that the science supports this change, and that in-person business at Town Hall is a great benefit to the community. Over the last year, much of the town’s work was done virtually through Zoom or GoToMeeting sessions. Borg praised the work done to put these systems in place at all departments on such short notice.
“We were still able to function, make the decisions and put budgets together and make the town still work,” said Borg.
Over the last 12 months boards and committees have met in a virtual or hybrid format, and that will remain the case until the State of Emergency is lifted by Gov. Baker on June 15. Borg said it was this order that allowed the town make this change and still adhere to Open Meeting Law.
For months, boards met in a fully virtual setting, but in recent weeks some have begun meeting in person, though capacity restrictions meant the public had to dial in. Once the State of Emergency is lifted, the public will be able to attend meetings in person. Borg said he’s excited to see this happen, and recalls going to meetings early last year and seeing people in the audience.
“I hope that when we open back up, we’ll also see people come back in,” said Borg. “I look forward to that even more now. I just want to get that dialogue going again.”