Town manager asks returning residents to self-isolate

Residents urged not to congregate while enjoying public open spaces
By Susan Mustapich | Mar 25, 2020
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Camden's town manager is asking all residents to observe social distancing, and avoid congregating in groups, in the abundant open space offered within the town.

CAMDEN — The town of Camden has extended closure of all town departments to the public indefinitely as of March 25, and all residents are being asked to maintain social distancing at the town's public parks, beaches and recreation areas, as well as on downtown sidewalks.

Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell outlined the extension of measures to close town offices to the public, first announced March 15, at the March 24 Select Board meeting, and in a statement posted on the website. The extended closure of the office to the public is in response to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Janet Mills and Center for Disease Control guidance.

Town business will continue to be conducted with the public through email, telephone and online services. Interactive public meetings, including Select Board and Budget Committee meetings, will be held and broadcast live on the town of Camden's YouTube Channel.

Caler-Bell addressed the increase of returning seasonal residents to Camden, which is unusual for March, she said. She asks that all residents, whether year-round or seasonal, follow Center for Disease Control guidelines.

"Camden, like other communities in Maine, has a high percentage of citizens that reside here on a seasonal basis," she said. "If you have been traveling out-of-state, out of the country, or are not feeling well, we ask that you stay home and self-isolate for at least 14 days."

In addition to self-isolation for returning travelers, the CDC guidelines she cited for all residents to practice include eliminating any unnecessary travel from their schedules, whether in-town or out-of-state, and adhering to social distancing.

"This means not gathering in groups of 10 or larger and maintain a distance of 6 feet or more between people," she said. "These measures are meant to flatten the curve, stop the spread of the virus and allow our health care system to not exceed its capacity to care for those in need."

While noting guidelines to stay healthy during the pandemic, which include exercise, Caler-Bell asked that people continue to follow social distancing rules while enjoying Camden's public outdoor resources.

She promoted the idea of getting outdoors, including to the popular open spaces such as such as the Snow Bowl, Maiden’s Cliff and the Camden Hills State Park, while warning that the town may have to take "measures to safeguard our population" if social distancing is not practiced.

She said, "What we can’t have happen is for people to all congregate to one area and overcrowd a resource, making social distancing difficult to impossible."

Caler-Bell said this applies "whether this is on the trails, sidewalks, or at the beach."

She said in an interview March 25 that have some people have been asking the town to close the public parks.

"That's absolutely a last resort, and not something we want to do," she said. "There are so few things people can do right now, there's still ways to recreate outside while observing CDC guidelines."

The town is seeing increased use of the parks, earlier in the year than usual. People are still able to social distance, she said, and hopes this will be able to continue.

For Town Office contact information, visit the website at Camdenmaine.gov.

Interactive Select Board and Budget Committee meetings will take place on schedule as listed on the town website calendar. Agendas and the package of information provided to Select Board members are also available on the website.

The meetings are broadcast on Cable TV Channel 1303 and also on YouTube at Town of Camden Maine.

The public can provide comments on YouTube while watching meetings live and by email to the Select Board at TOCselectboard@camdenmaine.gov or to Caler-Ball at acaler-bell@camdenmaine.gov.

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