Full Reopening of Town Hall, Public Library Delayed; Mailing of Tax Payments Encouraged

While the Board of Selectmen had tentatively projected Town Hall and the Public Library might return to their normal operating hours on July 6, the Board announced today there would be a minimum, one-week delay in returning these facilities to their full-time operating schedules with public access. The Board of Selectmen decided to take this action as a safety precaution, as COVID-19 infections have continued to rise on a national level as well as in various regions of the country. While local infections have grown only slightly, the Board does not want to see them rise in the Town of Lyme.

As a result, both buildings will remain on a three-day-per-week timetable for the public until at least July 13:

  • Lyme Town Hall will continue to be open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Lyme Public Library will continue to be open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Employees in both facilities will be available by phone or email to assist the public on the days that the buildings are not open to the public.

July is tax season and typically the time of year when a greater number of residents pay a visit to Town Hall.  To help keep the number of in-person visits to a minimum, the Board of Selectmen encourages residents to send their tax payments in by mail this year – or to drop them through the mail slot at Town Hall.

  • Tax payments can be mailed to Tax Collector, 480 Hamburg Road, Lyme, CT 06371.
  • Tax payments must be postmarked by August 3 to avoid penalties.

Reminder: Lyme Public Library Reopens To Public Tomorrow (Jun. 9) on 3-Day-a-Week Schedule

Beginning Tuesday, Jun. 9, the Lyme Public 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 and maintain social distancing. The following protections for staff and visitors will be observed:

  • 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 are also required and will be made available.
  • Residents are still requested to use mail, phone or email whenever possible to limit the number and duration of in-person visits.
  • Acrylic barriers have been placed in areas of high visitation to provide additional protection.
  • Hallways and aisles have been made one-way to reduce contact with others.
  • Social distancing protocols are required to be observed. Limits will be placed on the number of visitors present at any one time in the building.
  • There is a limit of 1 visitor in any office.
  • One bathroom has been reserved for staff use only.
  • In-person meetings of staff, boards or commissions is 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.
  • The building will be cleaned twice per week and staff will disinfect on an ongoing basis.

 

Reminder: Town Hall Reopens To Public Tomorrow (Jun. 8) on 3-Day-a-Week Schedule

Beginning Monday, Jun. 8, Lyme Town Hall will be open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 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 following protections for staff and visitors will be observed:

  • 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.
  • Residents are still requested to use mail, phone or email whenever possible to limit the number and duration of in-person visits.
  • Acrylic barriers have been placed in areas of high visitation to provide additional protection.
  • Hallways and aisles have been made one-way to reduce contact with others.
  • Social distancing protocols are required to be observed. Limits will be placed on the number of visitors present at any one time in the building.
  • There is 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 has been reserved for staff use only.
  • In-person meetings of staff, boards or commissions is 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.
  • The building will be cleaned twice per week and staff will disinfect on an ongoing basis.

Reminder: Recycling Center Only Open on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

The Hamburg Recycling Center is open now on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, 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.
  • We are 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.

Reminder: Recycling Center Reopens Tomorrow on Modified Schedule

The Hamburg Recycling Center will reopen tomorrow, 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.

Reminder: Transfer Station Reopens Tomorrow

The Brush Hill Transfer station will reopen tomorrow, 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.Rein

First Selectman Announces Town of Lyme To Phase In Reopening of Town Facilities, Starting May 20

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.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman


Town of Lyme Phased Reopening Schedule at a Glance

NOTE: This schedule assumes no resurgence in virus infection rates and compliance with all recommended public health protocols.

First Selectman Issues Public Health Advisory Update

Yesterday, April 23, was the one-month anniversary of our closure of Town buildings in response to the public health emergency. Within two days of that closure, Lyme experienced its first case of COVID-19. Today, we still have only that one confirmed case, although it’s important to keep in mind there could always be unconfirmed cases where people were unable to get tested or exhibited only minor symptoms.

The good news is that total cases in New London County remain relatively low compared to original expectations and to other parts of Connecticut. Social distancing is working to limit the spread. Thank you for your part in making that happen.

However, cases in New London County continue to grow and at an accelerating rate. We have not yet reached the peak of our local curve. The county was adding an average of 2.9 cases per day on April 1; 16.6 cases on April 15; and is averaging 23.4 cases a day today. Total numbers are not extreme, but they are accumulating – with 419 total cases now in the county, including 17 deaths.

In the towns surrounding Lyme, the picture is mostly the same. Old Lyme has 10 positive cases; East Lyme, 35; Salem, 3; and East Haddam, 10. The bigger towns in our county have much greater numbers.

The Town remains prepared should this accelerating trend continue. Our first responders have prepared; supplies have been stockpiled; our most at-risk residents have support; and our government is again operating, with most commissions holding their regular meeting schedules virtually. The Board of Finance has approved next year’s budget without a property tax increase and the Board of Selectmen has approved a Low Interest Rate Program for taxpayers who may have difficulty making timely payments on their next property tax bill which comes due July 1. The Town’s website has more information on these developments.

Inevitably, we will be looking forward to a return to some level of normal operations after the number of new cases falls to a more reasonable level. As with other parts of the state and country, we look forward to reopening the Town when we believe it will be safe. The Board of Selectmen and the COVID-19 Response Team are already planning for this eventuality. We will return slowly with a watchful eye for any potential spikes.

The question the Board of Selectmen has received most frequently during the pandemic is, “Why aren’t the transfer station and recycling center open?” We recognize the inconvenience of having these facilities closed. While residents may be able to drop items off without much social contact, we must also consider the employees who maintain these facilities. These employees must interact at some level to assist residents and, after residents leave, process the materials left. These materials can hold the virus for extended periods of time and we cannot expose our town staff, many of whom are over 60 years of age, to this level of risk.  Please be patient as we try and protect everyone. And remember, Jansky will pick up your recyclables on an every-other-Thursday basis for the fee of $10 a month. 

In closing, thank you for your efforts at staying home and staying safe. We cannot get complacent with our social-distancing efforts. Please continue to show your support for our community by supporting events like the first-responder parade, displaying “hearts” for our front-line workers and engaging in other similar activities being held by our school system.  Let’s use this time to celebrate our wonderful town and the people who live here.  We will get through this … together.

Please take care, stay safe and stay home.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman