SOUTH PORTLAND — Municipal and school officials in South Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth are closing schools and other buildings and canceling public meetings for the next two weeks in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19.

All officials said the closures and cancellations would last through March 27, but could potentially be extended based on developing events.

South Portland City Manager Scott Morelli said city officials have closed the main and branch libraries, along with the South Portland Community Center and the Red Bank Community Center The city also issued a statement that all South Portland municipal facilities would be closed.

In a separate statement, Mayor Katherine Lewis announced that all municipal public meetings, including City Council, Planning Board, and other municipal committees, are also being canceled.

“Meetings attract a wide variety of participants, including staff, citizens, applicants, and volunteer committee members, some of whom are in at-risk population groups for the novel coronavirus,” Lewis said. “Canceling these meetings for at least two weeks will mitigate the risk posed to these individuals from the spread of the virus. It also models behavior we hope other businesses and agencies will emulate.”

A separate document issued by the city that listed canceled meetings indicated that school board budget workshops scheduled for that same two-week period are also canceled. According to the South Portland School Department website, all schools are closed until Friday, March 27, and are scheduled to reopen March 30. Before and after care programs at the elementary school, including South Portland Recreation, are closed. All clubs, sporting activities, and outside faculty uses are suspended.

Scarborough Public Schools will also be closed, according to the department’s website.

“We continue to reassess our timelines for school closure on an ongoing basis, utilizing the most current CDC and Department of Education guidance,” a statement on the site read. “We will reassess our decision to re-open as we approach the two-week timeline.”

Scarborough municipal buildings, including town hall, public safety and public works buildings have been closed through March 29, but Town Manager Tom Hall said the buildings remain staffed. Trash and recycling services will also continue as scheduled.

Scarborough’s school buildings will be open until 6 p.m. Monday, March 16, and from 7 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, March 17, for those who need to retrieve laptops, medications or other belongings. Families participating in the School Nutrition Backpack Program will continue to be served.

Scarborough Public Library Director Nancy Crowell said the public library would be closed “until further notice.” She said patrons could return books via the external book drop, or hold onto materials until the library reopens.

According to the Scarborough town website, all senior programming has been canceled until further notice, along with community services youth programming that includes indoor soccer, lacrosse, softball pitching clinic, spring basketball training, youth wrestling and Ultimate Frisbee. Full refunds will be issued for all programs that have not started, while prorated refunds will be issued for programs that have already begun. In addition, community services adult programming, including healthline and pickleball, have been suspended until further notice, and the annual Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for April 3-4 has also been canceled.

On Saturday, Cape Elizabeth School Superintendent Donna Wolfrom issued a letter to parents indicating Cape Elizabeth public schools would be closed.

“This decision was made after much thought, with input from medical professionals regarding the spread of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution,” Wolfrom wrote. “I realize that this will be a hardship for many of the families in the community, but I also know that our families will support each other as we go through this difficult time.”

Cape Elizabeth town services, including Thomas Memorial Library, Community Services, Cape Care and After Care, Richards Pool and Fitness Center are all closed through April 1.

The town has also canceled public meetings until April 1, including the Recycling Committee, School Building Committee, Planning Board, Fort Williams Park Committee, Energy Committee, Library Committee, Zoning Board of Appeals and Town Council budget workshops.

In addition, Southern Maine Community College has announced its spring break is being extended to Sunday, March 22, with students being allowed to move back into campus housing starting at 2 p.m. that day.

Wendy Tardiff, executive director of the Dempsey Center for cancer care, has also announced that the center is restricting all visits from outside visitors until March 27, and the center will be closed on Saturdays until further notice. Group activities, such as classes and support groups, are canceled until further notice. Counseling services will continue, but the center encourages phone and video appointments whenever possible. Nutrition and fitness consultations are still available, but the center encourages phone consults. Acupuncture services will continue for the time being, but there will be an increase of space between treatment chairs. Massage therapy appointments are still available.

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