Scheduling changes for libraries, state courts, hospital visits and more have been made in the effort to fend of corona virus. Journal Tribune file photo

Along with other changes in how we live our lives and conduct business in the era of coronavirus, there are change in how Maine’s courts operate, rules for visits to medical facilities, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, libraries, U.S. government offices and special events.

Here is the current rundown on these six categories.

At Southern Maine Health Care’s Biddeford and Sanford Medical centers, visiting hours are 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

Because children can carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms, no visitor under the age of 18 will be permitted. Care teams can make exceptions in specific circumstances (i.e. pediatric patients, compassionate care), hospital officials said in a news release.

There is a limit of one visitor per patient for both inpatient and ambulatory care. This includes all hospital, ambulatory, clinic appointments, and emergency department visits.

All events previously open to the public, community groups and meetings at any SMHC facility are canceled.

The state has closed all Bureau of Motor Vehicles office until further notice effective March 17. Service is available online at: https://www.maine.gov/sos/online_services. The BMV main office may be reached at 624-9000.

All local Social Security offices, including the Saco SSA office, are now  closed to the public for in-person service. This decision protects the population  served — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and SSA employees during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Social Security Administration said in a news release. Secure online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov.  SSA offices will also continue to provide services over the phone. The Saco number is 877-253-4715.

As to the state courts, with the exception of arraignments and first appearances of defendants in custody; motions for bail review; juvenile detention hearings; protection from abuse and from harassment requests and hearings; child protection petitions and hearings, mental health petitions, and hearings granted on motions, all in-person events at Maine’s family, civil and criminal courts are postponed. No jury trials will be heard until after May 1, unless otherwise ordered, no grand jury proceedings will be held and all previously scheduled cases are postponed. Any trials in progress may be completed, according to a news release from the Maine Judicial Branch.

Maine’s superior and district have issued orders vacating outstanding warrants for unpaid fines, unpaid restitution, unpaid court-appointed counsel fees and failure to appear for unpaid fine hearings.

Also, the Maine courts have ordered that any statutory requirement calling for face-to-face or in person contact or interviews with children and families shall be defined to include video and telephone contact.

Biddeford has postponed Maine Restaurant Week, which had been scheduled for the current week.

Local libraries are also affected:

In Biddeford, McArthur Public Library is closed to the public through Tuesday, March 31, and staff will then re-evaluate. Library staff are working on procedures to host as many library services online as possible and will share updates when in place.

School lunch distribution will be available on the library’s front lawn from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday during this time period.

The due date for all library materials has been extended, patrons are asked to keep checked out library materials at home and no fines will be charged on library materials while the library remains closed. Staff will be available online at: mcarthurlibrary.org or 284-4181 to answer questions and assist with navigating our online resources.

In Old Orchard Beach, Libby Memorial Library was to reassess  whether to remain open to check out or return books. Most children and adult programming has been canceled, though story times will be streamed on Facebook on their regularly scheduled day. Check the library’s web page for more info, at: ooblibrary.org.

In Saco, Dyer Library and Saco Museum are closed at least until March 31, according to the sacomuseum.org website. Dues dates of library materials will be extended and fines will be canceled until the library reopens.

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