Town prepares to reopen municipal buildings
By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Due to another discrepancy in how COVID-19 cases are being reported, the town of Shrewsbury has been notified by the Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance (CMRPHA,) that there were an additional 32 unreported positive cases and five more as of June 4.
The office of Town Manager Kevin Mizikar released a memo on June 4 advising the town was “reporting a higher increase of total positive cases of COVID-19”. The memo noted that there had been no positive cases reported since May 26 and on that date the cumulative positive cases since March 1 was 270. The correct number is now 307.
This is the second time there has been a discrepancy in reported numbers. The first discrepancy was reported on April 21.
As the numbers are coming in a Reopening Task Force has been formed with Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las serving as chair and Angela Snell, superintendent of public facilities and parks, vice-chair. Members include town employees from administrative assistants to department heads.
The task force is following a similar phased timeline as the state and oversees the reopening of Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Library.
Currently, the Town is in Phase I and all building are still closed to the public. However, employees are working either in the office or remotely in accordance with Governor Charlie Baker’s suggestion that if employees are able to work effectively from home then that is the preferred protocol at this time.
“Phase I meets the state’s requirements for office space of the 25 percent capacity and it meets the safety standard requirements, required training on safety and hygiene for all staff,” Las said.
“The Reopening Task force is now working on what Phase II may look like,” Las said. “That may be allowing the public back into Town Hall by appointment only.”
The Library is still working on Phase I which permits library materials to be picked up and returned curbside.
The Council on Aging is working to bring back transportation which was stalled in March. Meals on Wheels have continued to operate during the pandemic.
“Phase II could start as soon as June 8. We do not have an idea at this time when the Town Hall would be open for appointments,” Las noted.
When asked about the parks and playgrounds, Las replied that tennis courts at Dean Park, Coolidge School and Oak Middle School were open to the public but playgrounds, basketball courts and all facilities at Shrewsbury High School remain closed. However, all parks are open for passive recreation.
“The Town is taking all the guidance from the state under very serious consideration. We are planning for the safety of not only the employees but most importantly the Town residents,” she explained. “If anyone needs anything we certainly are all answering phones and email and are getting back to people as soon as possible.”
She also reminded that payments of bills can be done online or residents can use the drop box in front of the Town Hall.