Harwich Town Offices Begin Opening Doors

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: COVID-19

Harwich news.

HARWICH — With the third phase of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Reopening of Massachusetts, municipal government became more accessible on Monday.

The doors to town hall and a number of other public buildings are open, but in many instances appointments are required ahead of time to meet with town staff.

Town Administrator Joseph Powers said the town has been working on compliance with the mandatory safety standards put in place by the Baker Administration to combat the spread of COVID-19. Those standards include social distancing, hand-washing hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting.

There will be specific guidelines in place to maintain health and safety of employees and visitors, Powers wrote in a guidance document, and while all departments will be accessible to the public, whenever possible, he is encouraging that business be conducted by phone or email, limiting in-person activities to matters that cannot be performed remotely.

The plan is to limit the number of people coming into town hall at one time. A person is expected to greet and direct people to scheduled appointments. Face coverings must be worn by the public when inside town buildings. Health Department Director Meggan Eldredge said the opening “was a little crazy.” A volunteer expected at town hall Monday didn’t show up. But, she added, “we managed.”

There will be limited access in town facilities by appointment. Eldredge said there are signs at the three entrances to town hall and there will be volunteers handing people department telephone numbers to call to make appointments.

The public safety facility on Sisson Road is currently open for emergencies. Non-emergency access will not be available until July 13 and appointments will be required.

The cultural center opened on July 1 to tenants with studios, and access to the administrative staff became available on Monday. Use of the center is limited to 25 people at a time. The community center opened on Monday along with the recreation department. However, group activities, the weight room and locker rooms are restricted to phase specific activities, Powers stated. The council on aging, veteran’s agent, cemetery administrator and Channel 18 are open by appointment only.

The department of public works, the harbormaster and natural resources departments are open, but are limited to one person inside the lobby at a time, and appointments are encouraged. The water department and youth services office are open, but appointments are required.

The golf pro shop at Cranberry Valley Golf Course opened on Monday with a limited number of people allowed inside at one time. Board of Selectmen Chairman Larry Ballantine wanted to know how phase three impacts Cranberry Valley Golf Course. Eldredge said rakes will be allowed in the sand traps and ball washers will be installed. These items must be cleaned regularly. She said Golf Maintenance Superintendent Shawn Fernandez doesn’t have the staff to provide constant cleaning. Eldredge also said golfers will be allowed to have caddies.

Brooks Free Library is open for curbside pick-up only at this time.