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Town manager reminds community social distancing is now law

Police department focusing on educating residents, members of the public
Apr 08, 2020

CAMDEN — Camden Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell reminded residents and community members that social distancing "is no longer a recommendation; it’s now a law that can be enforced by the Police Department."

Violations are considered Class E crimes and are subject to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Caler-Bell said in an April 8 statement.

"It should be noted that the Camden Police Department will be primarily focusing on educating residents and members of the public who are not social distancing, about the need to do so, with enforcement as a last resort for those who are non-compliant."

Caler-Bell said that Gov. Janet Mills' April 7 statement, and Executive Orders issued April 4 and March 31, have raised a lot of questions for the town and for residents.

She provided an overview of how Camden operations will remain compliant with provisions in the governor's order in addition to laws regulating social distancing:

Seasonal residents returning to Maine, and visitors, must quarantine themselves for 14 days. Visitors are not to travel to Maine if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are travelling from cities and regions that are considered COVID-19 “hot spots”, including Detroit, Chicago and New York City. Residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are to refrain from travel to Maine.

Outside exercise is still allowed, provided people maintain social distancing. This means not congregating in groups larger than 10 and maintaining six feet of distance between people. The town of Camden will continue to keep public spaces open for public use. "I would like to ask people that if they arrive at an outdoor recreation area and the parking lot is full to please have several alternative locations planned that you can go to instead. This will help us to better manage these spaces to avoid over-crowding," she said.

Caler-Bell said the state regulations leave a "great deal of grey area regarding the Stay-at home-safe-order." The town has fielded a lot of questions about what this order means around activities like going for leisurely drives, hiking with friends, traveling to a from essential services or employment, Caler-Bell said. The police department is pursuing a strategy of education and voluntary compliance. Enforcement action will only be taken when there is an egregious violation.

Lodging operations and accommodations, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short-term rentals and parks for recreational vehicles and campgrounds, and all public and private camping facilities, are to close. There are a number of exceptions, identified in the governor’s Executive Order. Any owner of a lodging operation or accommodation who has questions is encouraged to contact the town.

Public Works and Wastewater Treatment departments are considered essential services under the governor’s order. They will be continuing to work on roads, drainage and sewer lines, as well as other projects around town. In many ways, this affords this departments and contractors the opportunity to do work on roads when traffic volume is greatly reduced and when there will be very minimal impact on local businesses. Many departments have divided crews into shifts to ensuring they can maintain social distancing while working.

All town employees will continue to work and administrative personnel will strictly work remotely unless there’s an urgent need for them to be in the town office.

Assessors will continue to do inspections but will not enter homes.

The Code Enforcement officer will continue to do inspections, and will work with contractors and home owners to schedule and conduct inspections in a safe manner.

Businesses that need assistance accessing emergency funds are encouraged to contact Jeremy Martin, the town’s Planning and Development Director, at jmartin@camdenmaine.gov. Martin, in partnership with local lending institutions, can help guide businesses through the SBA’s Disaster Assistance loan program.

Individuals who need assistance are encouraged to contact General Assistance Director, Janice Esancy at jesancy@camdenmaine.gov.

There remains a lot of uncertainty around elections and the June town meeting, according to Caler-Bell. While the governor has recently stated that it’s unlikely the state’s June elections will move forward, and has suggested July 14 may be the alternative date, she said it's not clear what this will mean for local elections and town meetings. The town will continue to move business forward in preparation for a June Town Meeting with the full understanding that plans may change.

Caler-Bell thanked everyone for doing their part to keep the community safe.

"We should be proud of how our community has collectively responded to this unique crisis. From what town staff and I have observed, the vast majority of our residents are doing their absolute best to practice social distancing.

If there was ever a time when our individual behaviors mattered the most, it’s now. The coming month will be challenging for us all. The town will continue to do our best to keep everyone informed and safe."

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Fernand Russell | Apr 09, 2020 11:38

Oh good, drive to Camden and get pulled over.  If I do not stop quick enough do I get shot at?  Yes, this is a ridiculous comment, just as ridiculous as the item in the newspaper.



Posted by: Lawrence Edward Galkowski | Apr 09, 2020 05:19

Insanity



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