Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre, shown here in this 2018 Journal Tribune file photo, was among Biddeford department heads updating residents about how the city is providing services during the coronavirus crisis. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — City Hall is closed to the public but if you need a police officer, they’re available; if you need rescue, they’ll come to your door. Other services — from re-registering vehicles or buying a hunting or fishing license can be accomplished online — and help with that is a phone call away.

The hotline residents can call for city-related service matters is 284-9020.

Biddeford municipal officials conducted a press conference — without the press — on Thursday, March 19, releasing a video to update residents on what is happening. City Manager James Bennett noted as the coronavirus continues, protocols can change quickly.

“(Things) could easily change tomorrow,” he said. “We meet daily to assess what we have for needs.”

The hotline will be answered 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays by a city staffer; if someone gets a message machine, it is because the line is in use, and the caller should leave a voice mail, which is converted to an email that goes to staffers, Bennett said.

Police Chief Roger Beaupre said routine patrols will continue but the manner in which calls for service are answered will be slightly different. He said the police lobby is open 24 hours a day, but that people who go there to report a non-emergency issue should pick up the phone inside the lobby and call.

There will be no face-to-face conversations unless there is an emergency, he said. Beaupre said dispatchers will take call back numbers and police will call to determine if an in-person conversation is necessary.

Beaupre also said the department is concerned about price gouging, “people trying to take advantage of a situation and making a buck out of it.” He said the city’s street crimes division will handle those complaints.

Fire Chief Scott Gagne said when residents call for rescue, dispatchers will ask a series of questions about travel and health and that responders will maintain social distancing and ask the same questions — and don protective equipment if need be, for the patient’s protection as well as that of the responder.

The Recycling Center is now closed, but those who need to dispose of large items or recycling during the closure, can visit Riverside Recycling in Portland or BBI Waste Industries in Old Orchard Beach, Public Works Director Jeff Demers said.

Demers said those experiencing sewer backup issues may call 282-1579.

Demers had some other words of advice. “Flush only what is flushable,” preferably just toilet paper, despite package advertising that suggests otherwise. Other communities have reported sewer problems when items other than toilet paper are flushed.

Comments are not available on this story.