By Jennifer L. Grybowski, Contributing Writer
Region – The Board of Selectmen (BOS) and Board of Health (BOH) met jointly June 2 to tackle a variety of issues.
The boards discussed outdoor seating at restaurants, as allowed in Phase II of the governor’s reopening plan.
Baccari said the state has given local BOHs guidelines and criteria for things like safety precautions and alcohol consumption. Part of those guidelines include local BOSs voting on written procedures giving the building commissioner’s office approval and authority over the processes of getting the restaurants the approval they need to operate safely. The process would also give waivers to zoning and site plan restrictions, and give an amended process with the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for liquor licensing.
Building Commissioner/Zoning Enforcement Officer Fred Lonardo explained that the way it would work is a restaurant would apply for a temporary permit to serve outdoors, the BOH, building department, fire department, police department and the BOS would all sign off in their respective areas.
“We try to abbreviate the process,” he said. “We realize we have to turn them over in a couple of days.”
He said he would go out and check the sites prior to opening. Some discussion was had about how bathrooms would be handled, and Lonardo said the restaurant has to submit a bathroom plan and that facilities vary widely in the town’s restaurants.
Selectmen unanimously approved the outdoor restaurant procedure and waived any permitting fees attached to this new application process.
“These are businesses that have been struggling,” Selectman Allen Edinberg said. “I think anything we can do to make things easier benefits them, the town and the residents.”
BOS Chair Ian Johnson gave credit to the building and BOH staff for being proactive in instituting this process, and being so willing to work with local businesses.
The BOS and BOH considered a question about allowing the senior tax work-off program to continue.
“Some offices want to have seniors back to do work,” he said, pointing out that the seniors are a high-risk population and that social distancing can be difficult in some of the smaller offices.
The boards decided to allow the seniors to continue working on a case by case basis, as long as people are following guidelines to stay safe.
Town Manager Kristi Williams said the Town Hall staff will be back in buildings on an alternating basis effective Monday, June 8 during regular hours observing the reduction in staff guidelines.
In other news, there will be a town mourning event Sunday, June 14 at 4:30 p.m. All of the churches will ring their bells for one full minute, one full minute of silence will be observed, and one full minute of bells will follow.