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

 

First Selectman Issues Public Health Advisory Update

It has been 10 days since the last update when we announced the first coronavirus patient in Lyme. We are cautiously optimistic to note that we have not yet seen another case. Neighboring towns continue to experience increasing numbers of cases and we should anticipate the same here. Please be diligent in keeping yourselves, your families, friends and neighbors safe as we work together to protect ourselves and our town.

Updates to our preparations:

  • The ambulance, fire and emergency management services continue to be ready. Protocols to protect the first responders and the patients on 911 calls have been modified and responders may be in protective equipment upon arrival at your homes if called. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been ordered and stockpiled and the flow of additional supply has been arranged with the state, if needed.
  • The COVID-19 Response Team is following all developments and participating daily with the Governor, State Health Department and Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security to be fully aware of the most up-to-date information and recommendations.
  • Our volunteer appeal has been overwhelmingly successful. Thank you. Over 100 of you have offered to help. These volunteers are making contact (non-physical) with any residents who would like to be followed, just in case. We are actively seeking other residents who may be more comfortable knowing the town is available and can assist in addressing emergency needs that may come up. Volunteers may be needed for additional purposes if things progress negatively. It is a comfort to know this community stands up and takes care of one another. A large reason why we love living here.
  • The town facilities remain closed, but the government remains open and operational. Town Hall and library employees can be reached by email and will assist in most cases. The town crew is working on a reduced basis, but work continues on our roads. “How-to” instructions for our land-use responsibilities have been posted on the website to try and make things a little easier. The website will continue to be updated as the situation changes.
  • The town’s boards and commissions are getting back to work. Their meetings will be held virtually and remain open to the public. Agendas are posted on the website with instructions on how to participate, if desired. Minutes are also posted summarizing the actions taken in those meetings. It is our hope that all boards will be back on their normal meeting schedule by May.
  • The development of next year’s budget (beginning July 1, 2020) has continued and will be presented at a virtual Budget Hearing, on April 28, 2020 by the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance will be empowered to adopt this budget and set the mill rate for next year without Town Meeting approval. The proposed budget will be posted on the website with an email address made available for your comments. The Board of Selectmen’s budget proposal, being reviewed and debated by the Board of Finance, recommended a balanced budget that would not require a property tax increase next year.
  • Our land preserves, along with those owned by the Lyme Land Trust, remain open and have available some of the best hiking trails in CT. We urge you to take advantage of them for exercise and fresh air. Please remain at least 6 feet apart from others as you enjoy our beautiful town.

We have had a wonderful suggestion from a resident.

Feeling a little antsy, need some fresh air and exercise? For many of us it’s the first time that we actually have some spare time on our hands. How about sprucing up our town roadsides.  Our roads collect garbage and recyclables we can collect.  Take two bags; one for garbage and one for recyclables – cans, bottles and plastic make up about 90% of roadside trash. If you can, hold on to the recyclables until the recycling center reopens. And for more fun and quality time, meet up with a friend or neighbor (keeping your distance of course) or make it a family adventure. It’s just a little thing we can do in this time of stress that’s good for the town and the environment.

 This is a great suggestion, especially since the Public Hall’s Annual Spring Roadside Clean-Up has been cancelled for this year.

We should congratulate ourselves for our adherence to social distancing. This is the single most impactful action we can all take to protect us all. Lyme has responded well to this request and we trust that this will continue. As the weather warms, and the lure of being outside and the need for social contact grows, we ask you all not to get complacent. The lack of case numbers in Lyme is partially due to our social distancing actions. We need to see this through until the end … together.

Please take care, stay safe and stay home.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman

 

First Selectman’s Statement on First Positive COVID-19 Case in the Town of Lyme

The Connecticut Department of Public Health today confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 within the Town of Lyme. 

The first thing I want to say, on behalf of the entire Lyme community, is that our thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery are with this individual, their family and their loved ones.

For the community at large, our main goal continues to be slowing the spread of the virus.  The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued – everything from frequently washing your hands to eliminating all non-essential travel. 

For the most up-to-date information on the state’s public health guidance and other resources, residents are encouraged to visit www.ct.gov/coronavirus. We need to take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice.  These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.

The Town’s COVID-19 Response Team and our Emergency Management Department are continuing to follow the comprehensive emergency response plans we have developed, practiced and refined over many years.

  • Our first responders – our fire company, our volunteer ambulance service and our Emergency Management Department – are mobilized and ready.
  • Our volunteer coordination effort has begun in anticipation of furthering outreach to our most vulnerable residents.
  • We continue to communicate and work closely with the Ledge Light Health District, the State Department of Public Health, the Governor’s office and other state and local partners.
  • The Town website and Facebook page continue to be updated with the latest public health news and information.
  • All residents continue to be encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on our website’s home page to receive important public health updates by email.

Our emergency response team will be on the job until it’s over. 

We will get through this, together.

Stay Safe.  Stay at Home.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman

 

Town of Lyme Closes Public Library, Transfer Station, Hamburg Recycling Center & Town Garage; All Employees To Work from Home – Effective Tuesday, March 24

Following the March 21, 2020, Governor’s order requiring all non-essential activities to cease, the Town of Lyme is taking the additional steps listed below in an effort to further reduce the exposure of residents and employees to the COVID-19 virus.  As a reminder, municipalities are considered an essential service and we will endeavor to continue operations where possible, albeit at a reduced level.

Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

  1. The Lyme Public Library will close until further notice. Please follow the Library’s website at lymepl.org for instructions regarding the availability of online access to books and other information.
  2. All Town Hall employees will be instructed to work from home. Employees will be limited to a few hours each week at the Town Hall to maintain their department’s operations and address any required activities that may be received by U.S. mail. Such visits will be coordinated to assure only one employee is present in the building at any one time. Each department will monitor their emails and do their best to assist residents when possible. The email addresses of the major Town departments can be found on the website at townlyme.org/town-departments.
  3. The Town’s Transfer Station will close and disposal of landfill materials will not be possible until further notice.
  4. The Hamburg Recycling Center will close and recycling will not be possible until further notice. Residents will either need to hang onto their recyclables for disposal at a future date or dispose of them as household garbage – that is, via their trash service with Jansky Rubbish who will be remaining open and servicing the town.
  5. Town Boards and Commissions are instructed to hold any essential meetings via conference call only and encouraged to delay any business that is not mandatory. The Governor’s orders have approved such meetings, provided agendas are published on the Town’s website and provisions are made for interested residents to participate via phone. More information regarding the procedures to be used will be forthcoming and posted on the Town’s website when finalized.
  6. The Public Works Department will operate on a reduced schedule and will respond to emergencies only. The Town Garage will be closed.

As communicated previously:

  • Our first responders – our fire company, ambulance service and Emergency Management Department – have prepared and are on standby should their services be needed.
  • The Town has developed a list of vulnerable community residents whom we will contact and continue to follow up with, in order to assure that all residents have the support they require. Should an individual resident enter into isolation and wish to be included on this list, we ask that they email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide their name, street address, email address and phone number so we can include them.
  • We have also developed a volunteer list for Lyme residents interested in helping make follow-up calls to our vulnerable citizens, and providing additional help that may become needed in our community. If you’re interested in volunteering, please email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide your name, address, phone number and any skills that may become needed.

The main public health goal going forward continues to be slowing the spread of the virus.  The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued.  For the most up-to-date public health guidance from the State of Connecticut, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus. We must all take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice.  These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.

All residents continue to be encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on our website’s home page, Townlyme.org, to receive important public health updates by email.  The Board of Selectmen can be reached by email at AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com

Stay Safe.  Stay at Home.  We will get through this, together.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman

To read the executive order, click here.

 

Help for Vulnerable Community Residents

The Town of Lyme is continuing its preparations to help our most vulnerable citizens through the days ahead.

We have a list of our community’s most vulnerable residents which has long been maintained by our Social Services Director and the Emergency Management Department. We want to make sure, however, that no one who is isolated and vulnerable in our community is overlooked in the coming days.

If you know someone in Lyme who is isolated – or if you, yourself, are a vulnerable individual as a result of your age or other reason – please notify the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org.  If you do not have access to email, please call Town Hall at 860-434-7733.

As a reminder, the Town of Lyme has also issued a call for volunteers who are willing and able to help isolated individuals in our community.  Please email our Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help.  She will be compiling a list of resident volunteers. If you have other expertise you think may be valuable in serving others during the coming days, please mention that in your email.

Thank you for helping us look after one another.


 

Stay Informed

  • Residents are encouraged to visit the Town website and Facebook page frequently for the latest public health advisories and updates.
  • Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the Town email list here on our website to receive important public health updates by email.

 

Town of Lyme Issues Call for Volunteers

The coronavirus is the biggest public health challenge Lyme has faced in generations.  We want to make sure none of our vulnerable residents are facing this challenge alone. 

In preparation for anticipated needs in days ahead, the Town of Lyme is issuing a call for volunteers who are willing and able to help isolated individuals in our community.  We anticipate a need for volunteers who can pick up and deliver groceries, medications and other supplies; and volunteers who can offer ongoing emotional support by phone or email. In the future, there may be additional ways that you can help.

The volunteer coordination effort will be led by our Social Services Director and our Town Clerk, supported by our Emergency Management Department and Second Selectman.

Please email your name, address and phone number to our Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help.  She will be compiling a list of resident volunteers.  If you have other expertise you think may be valuable in serving others during the coming days, please mention that in your email.

Thank you for helping us look after one another.


Stay Informed

  • Residents are encouraged to visit the Town website and Facebook page frequently for the latest public health advisories and updates.
  • Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the Town email list here on our website to receive important public health updates by email.

Update on Town of Lyme’s Public Health Responses

On March 16, following the Governor’s declaration of a public health emergency, the Town has taken the following actions:

  • Meetings and conference calls with Ledge Light Health District, the State Department of Public Health and the Governor’s office have been held and we are receiving multiple updates each day.
  • We have advised all Town Boards and Commissions and most private organizations to limit the size of events and give special protection to the at-risk population above 60 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions. Most events are being cancelled.
  • The Town website has been reorganized around the public health response. The emergency-notification ability has been activated and we hope you all are checking for updates and have signed up for emergency notifications. The website will not be used for the moment-by-moment news available through many other outlets, but will communicate the Lyme-specific information as it changes.
  • A new email address is provided for contacting the Board of Selectmen for answers to your questions: AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com
  • The CEO issued an Executive Order closing all town buildings to the public while maintaining our staff on-site to assist residents by phone or email (see website for contact information of the departments). Meetings of Town Boards and Commissions have been cancelled.
  • The First Selectman formed a COVID-19 Response Team based on the Emergency Operations Plan previously adopted and updated. Individual assignments are being made and all included organizations and departments have their planning activities underway.
  • First responder organizations (Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Management) have been mobilized and have entered their planning phases. Inventories of available materials and equipment have been made and efforts to acquire additional supplies are being sought. Volunteers to assist these groups will be needed.
  • The Response Team is forming a “high-risk resident outreach” and a “volunteer coordination” effort led by our Social Services Director and our Town Clerk, supported by the Emergency Management Department and our Second Selectman. Please email the townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help. We anticipate the need to phone and check on residents and to transport or distribute food and supplies if things get really bad. Any other expertise should be mentioned should other needs arise. 
  • A list of isolated residents will hopefully become available and should residents want to be included on that list for follow-up, they can also contact us for inclusion.

At present, there has not been a positive case of COVID-19 in New London County, but it will happen, including here in Lyme. Lyme faces an unimaginable period that has never happened before. We will survive it. If all of us employ social distancing and look out for each other – which is one of the values that makes Lyme special – we can minimize the damage to our residents and our way of life. Please protect yourselves and your families and volunteer where you can and don’t panic.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman

[originally posted March 16]

Town of Lyme Closes Facilities to the Public, Suspends In-Person Board & Commission Meetings

On March 13, First Selectman Steven Mattson announced that, as part of the Town’s civil preparedness for the coronavirus, effectively immediately until midnight of April 30 unless otherwise announced, the Town of Lyme would:

  • close Town Hall, the Lyme Public Library and Lyme Fire Stations to the general public;
  • prohibit the use of Town facilities for nongovernmental activities and events; and
  • suspend in-person meetings of Town boards and commissions.

To read the executive order, click here.

The Town government will continue to operate as usual; residents may contact Town Hall during normal business hours by phone at 860-434-7733 or the Board of Selectmen by email at AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com.  The Transfer Station and Hamburg Recycling Center will continue normal operations.

Residents are encouraged to visit the Town website and Facebook page frequently for the latest news and information related to the coronavirus. On the website, all of the news and information is being collected here.

Residents are also encouraged, if they haven’t already done so, to sign up for the Town email list on the home page of the Town website.

[originally posted March 13]