By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Southborough recently became one of the first area towns to do what several are now considering in the face of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic — postpone its town meeting.
Announcing the move in a sweeping statement March 13, Town Moderator Paul Cimino argued the crisis fits the legal definition of an “extraordinary public safety reason” needed to cancel the annual legislative event.
“I am particularly mindful that current guidance discourages the gathering of large numbers of people in enclosed spaces, as well as identifies certain segments of our population as being at increased risk,” he said.
Originally scheduled for March 28, the meeting will now convene on April 16 at Trottier Middle School.
This move, indeed, follows speculation over similar town meetings in Hudson and Westborough in particular.
In the former community, officials openly speculated on March 12 in interviews with the Community Advocate about risks to their town meeting.
Even if they were able to hold it as scheduled, Executive Assistant Tom Moses worried, the meeting could fail to attract the quorum necessary to actually proceed.
In Westborough, meanwhile, officials temporarily debated delaying their March 28 town meeting but have now at least tentatively decided to leave it as scheduled.
Back in Southborough, town meeting is not the only government business affected by urgent need for COVID-19 prevention methods, though.
“Information about the coronavirus is evolving, and the situation remains dynamic,” read a statement announcing such methods March 13.
The Town Hall will remain open, but departments will not accept walk in meetings. Instead, officials say, residents should conduct their business online or make appointments to physically visit the building.
Library, Rec Department, Senior Center, Youth and Family Services and all after school programs in town will be cancelled altogether as town officials and board members have been told to only hold meetings if necessary and to skip all conferences and seminars.