Health & Safety Protections To Be in Place for Staff & Residents; All Residents Encouraged To Remain Vigilant, Protect Themselves & Others.
As the state of Connecticut prepares to loosen stay-at-home practices to foster an increase in commerce, the Town of Lyme has prepared for a measured, phased reopening of Town facilities beginning on Wednesday, May 20, in accordance with the Governor’s plan. While we hope to return to as much “normal” as possible, things will clearly be different as we institute new procedures to protect our residents and employees and to avoid experiencing a recurrence of rising virus infections in our community.
The Board of Selectmen will monitor the reopening process closely, remaining vigilant should another wave of COVID-19 return. While we hope that we will not need to close Town facilities again, we will always put the health and safety of our residents and employees above all else when faced with that decision.
The reopening of Town facilities does not signal an end to the pandemic nor an end to the risk we all share. We strongly urge all of our citizens to continue to wear masks when outdoors and to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others. Residents who are 60 or older or who have other medical conditions that place them at risk should continue to stay home as much as possible. We must continue to look out for each other and practice the simple behaviors that limit transmission.
With those thoughts in mind, the reopening of our Town facilities will unfold as follows:
Public Works Department
- The full Public Works crew will return to their normal schedule beginning Wednesday, May 20.
- Masks will be worn anytime 2 or more employees are in close contact or residents are present.
Brush Hill Transfer Station
- The transfer station will reopen Thursday, May 21, at 9 a.m. – resuming its normal operating schedule of Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Town will waive all transfer station disposal fees through June 30, 2020, as a thank you for our residents’ patience and cooperation.
- Masks will be worn by employees when in contact with others.
- Masks must be worn by all residents disposing of material at the property and social distancing protocols must be followed.
- The transfer station attendant will control the total number of vehicles and residents within the property at any one time. Be aware that lines may result as we handle the backlog of resident materials.
- The recycling compactor at the transfer station will be available as before. Cardboard presents the largest risk of contamination to our employees, and we ask that residents reduce the size of their cardboard to no larger than 3’ by 3’ by cutting anything larger at home before depositing.
Hamburg Recycling Center
- The recycling center will reopen Friday, May 22 – on a modified schedule. The facility will initially be open for four days straight – from Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – to help meet anticipated high demand. Thereafter, the facility will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A return to 24/7 operating hours will begin at a later date. Temporary closures within these operating hours will be needed and we ask that you bear with us as this operation returns to normal.
- Usage is expected to be high at the outset and small procedural changes may be necessary to protect employees. We will be compacting recyclables three times or more daily (up from twice) to maintain available cart space as much as possible. If you should find the facility is full when you arrive, please come back again later to prevent our employees from having to handle the excess materials.
- Masks must be worn by employees when in contact with others.
- Masks must be worn by all residents depositing material at the property and social distancing protocols will be followed.
- Each vehicle should wait until the previous resident drives away before depositing their recyclables. No more than 1 visitor should be inside the building any one time.
- Cardboard presents the largest risk of contamination to our employees, and we ask that residents reduce the size of their cardboard to no larger than 3’ by 3’ by cutting anything larger at home before depositing.
Town Hall and Library
- Lyme’s Town Hall and Library will reopen gradually as we modify the buildings and work spaces to reflect recommended public health protocols; seek to obtain more data on trends of the local infection rate from public health authorities; and pursue the ability to provide testing for our staff.
- Beginning Tuesday, May 26, both buildings will welcome back staff only to prepare the spaces and serve residents when possible. Any service to patrons will take place outside the building, without contact, as was the process shortly before the current closure.
- On Monday, June 8, depending upon the infection rate in New London County and the availability of testing for staff, the public will have access to both buildings 3 days a week. (Staff will continue a full week schedule.)
- Town Hall will be open to visitors Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limits on the number of simultaneous visitors and a requirement that all visitors wear masks inside the building and maintain social distancing.
- The Library will be open to patrons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limits on the number of simultaneous visitors and a requirement that all visitors wear masks and gloves inside the building while practicing social distancing.
- We very tentatively project a return to all normal operating hours for both buildings beginning Monday, July 6. This date will, however, be entirely dependent upon the level of infection in the community at that time.
The following protections for staff and visitors will be observed in these facilities:
- Staff must wear masks when in contact with others and in common areas.
- Visitors must wear masks and the number of visitors inside a building at one time will be limited. Masks will be provided to visitors, if needed. Gloves will also be required in the Library and will be made available.
- Residents will be requested to use mail, phone or email whenever possible to limit the number and duration of in-person visits.
- Acrylic barriers will be placed in areas of high visitation to provide additional protection.
- Hallways and aisles will be made one-way to reduce contact with others.
- Social distancing protocols will be required and observed. Limits will be placed on the number of visitors present at any one time in each building.
- There will be a limit of 1 visitor in any office or in the Town Hall vault. Vault access will be by appointment and the use of gloves will be required.
- One bathroom in each building will be reserved for staff use only.
- In-person meetings of staff, boards or commissions will be limited to groups of 5 or less, and public health protocols (masks, social distancing) must be observed. Increases in the allowable size of groups will follow the guidelines of the Governor as they are relaxed.
- There will be no use of meeting rooms or seating areas by the public.
- Each building will be cleaned twice per week and staff will disinfect on an ongoing basis.
Other Town Facilities
- All other Town buildings, including the fire stations, will remain closed to non-governmental use until a later date.
The reopening process will be a challenging one for all involved, but I am confident our community and employees are up to the task. Thank you for all of your efforts at staying home and staying safe. Thank you for protecting yourselves and your neighbors by wearing masks and observing social distancing. Please keep this up. We will get through this together.