The Tuesday, May 26 Plympton Board of Selectmen’s meeting began with a discussion regarding the logistics for holding town meeting on June 17. Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy said that she had met earlier that day with members of the emergency management team, Plympton School Committee Chair Jon Wilhelmsen, Dennett Elementary principal Peter Veneto, and town clerk Patricia Detterman.
The group is planning a walkthrough well in advance of the meeting to figure out a seating arrangement that still allows for 6 feet of social distancing. Members of the same household who attend, can sit together. There are also plans to utilize two rooms in the Dennett, if necessary, to ensure proper distancing. Both would be equipped with the necessary technology to ensure communication between the rooms. Town Moderator Barry DeCristofano said that he would be able to nominate an alternate moderator for the second room.
Wilhelmsen said that he would speak to Veneto about possibly getting the technology department at the high school involved as it may be necessary to add to the existing equipment. There was some discussion between those at Monday’s meeting about possibly dividing those normally seated in the front at town meeting (selectmen, Finance Committee) equally between the two rooms.
There will most likely be a singular check-in point at this year’s town meeting located at the vestibule area. The check-in table will have a portable plexi-glass wall. From there, people will be directed to one of the two rooms. Dennehy said that unless guidance from the governor’s office changes before then, everyone attending the town meeting will be required to wear a face covering. The only exception will be those who have an underlying medical condition that prohibits them from doing so safely. Dennehy also said that there will be plenty of staff present from both the police and fire departments. Hand sanitizer will be available as will wipes to disinfect the microphones between use. If residents refuse to follow safety protocols while at town meeting, DeCristofano would have to declare them out of order and then the police would intervene.
Dennehy said that a bulletin outlining what to expect at town meeting will be sent to residents. Selectman Mark Russo was in favor of the idea as he said he had been hearing from many people that they would not be attending town meeting, some out of concern for their safety and health.
When asked if temperatures will be taken at check-in, Dennehy said that they decided to hold off on doing so as they didn’t want to create a bottleneck at the check-in area. She also mentioned the possibility of asymptomatic carriers. She did say it may be something that they will revisit prior to the meeting.
Dennehy said that the town has been working diligently on plans to get the townhouse up and running for the public by Monday, June 1. Regarding the new protocols, Dennehy said, “This is a very fluid situation and new territory for all of us, so everyone’s cooperation is appreciated as we navigate through this uncertain time.” The following is a list of the guidelines Dennehy will be issuing to the public ahead of reopening.
We will be following all protocols and Orders issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Should Commonwealth-instituted protocols be lessened, we will update our Town protocols accordingly.
The Town House will be open to the general public, beginning on Monday, June 1 for our normal business hours, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please note that elected offices, such as the Town Clerk, for example, may have extended or varied hours as required by law. The Building and Inspectional Services Department will also be available by appointment on Monday evenings.
Everyone is asked to wear a face covering the entire time you’re in the building unless you have an underlying medical condition.
Plympton Fire Department personnel will be conducting mandatory temperature checks. No personal information will be recorded and the temperature scan is contactless. If someone has a temperature above 100.3 degrees they will be asked to leave the building. Employees will also be subject to this screening daily.
One person at a time visiting any offices within the Town House. A waiting area that facilitates social distancing will be established in the Main Meeting Room.
If you need to speak to a specific Town employee, it’s best to call or Email them directly.
If you prefer to conduct business remotely, we can accommodate that to the extent practical. Please contact the respective Town Department and they will make every effort to assist you.
The full set out of guidelines will be available on the town website (town.plympton.ma.us).
Protocols for the town election are also in the works.
The meeting ended on a high note with Chair Christine Joy giving her “rave” for the week. Joy credited Briggette Martins and the Memorial Day Committee for stepping up despite initial difficulties securing the necessary supplies. Of their Memorial Day efforts, Joy said, “She and the Committee did an amazing job getting the green spruced up and getting flags and medallions on the veterans’ graves.”