People visit Pine Point Beach in Scarborough on Saturday, March 28. To avoid spreading COVID-19, the town of Scarborough has closed one half of the parking lot. Derek Davis/Press Herald photographer

SCARBOROUGH —  Although all town buildings (Town Hall, Public Safety, and Public Works buildings) will be closed to the public effective Tuesday, March 17 through April 12, the Town of Scarborough will begin public meetings over online platforms such as Zoom and Youtube, said Council Chair Paul Johnson.

In an update on Facebook on March 28, Johnson said that April 1 would be a regular Town Council meeting, followed by an official presentation of the budget on April 8 and a first reading on April 15.

The links to the future livestreams and recordings can be found on the town’s official website.

“Let’s start getting involved with local politics since we all have time on our hands,” Johnson said.

One of the items on the April 1 agenda is to waive interest on those who are late paying their property taxes “in view of the financial hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the agenda.

In addition, Councilor John Cloutier said “we’re going to to try to go through the normal budget process remotely” while building closures are in place. “We probably won’t take up a lot of new business,” he said.

Town Manager Tom Hall also announced some changes that Scarborough will be implementing in order to maintain social distancing measures.

“We’ve noticed several occasions where residents aren’t heading the warnings and following proper social distancing,” he said.

While the town is making an effort not to close beaches, Hall said that Higgins Beach and Ferry Beach will be closed their municipal lots as of March 28, and Pine Point Beach closed half of its lot.This is a measure to modify behaviors so that the novel coronavirus does not spread further.

“We’re tyring to reduce congestion,” Cloutier said.

The town’s outdoor basketball courts and turf and track fields are also closed, Hall said.

“We look for everyone’s compliance with these requests,” he said.

Hall also encouraged residents to keep practicing good hygiene, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, refrain from gathering in crowds of 10 people or more, and remain six feet away from others.

“If all of us follow these simple rules, we’ll get through this together,” he said.

Police Chief Robbie Moulton announced on March 28 that the town’s first responders are continuing to serve the community, but the process has added preventative measures with regards to the spread of COVID-19.

Dispatchers may now ask callers about recent travel history or health issues, said Moulton.

Some minor alterations may be able to be handled over the phone as a way to keep officers or EMS providers from becoming ill, he said.

“If you truly need to see us, we’ll certainly come, but if it’s minor we may handle it over the phone,” he said.

He’s confident that the town will be able to work through this pandemic, Moulton said.

To view and offer comment for the April 1 Town Council meeting, go to https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZIB7ffdoQdWn5OU_Rh1Xqw

To only view themeeting, go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5Y8CFy5HpXMftV3xX73aw

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