John Keating, Milton’s new emergency management coordinator, gave the selectboard an update on how the coronavirus and efforts to prevent its spread by reducing person-to-person contact are impacting the town’s operations.
Those with the greatest need to take precautions are the town’s first responders.
When dispatching calls, the dispatcher will screen for exposure to the coronavirus, explained Keating. If there is a chance the caller has been exposed “the rescue crew will take extra precautions,” he said.
Trainings will take place online and access to the rescue building has been limited to the crew on duty. “We have basically sealed the rescue building. No one other than recuse should be in the building,” town manager Don Turner told the Independent. The rescue teams will do their own cleaning.
Several St. Michael’s College students also serve on Milton Rescue. With the college shifting to online learning, only one of those students has left the roster, Turner said.
In addition, crews have been limited to two people.
The restrictions come as demand for the serve is increasing. Milton Rescue has seen a record call volume so far this year, Turner said.
The Milton Police Dept. (MPD) will now only respond alongside rescue for life-threatening calls. “Should they need them, they will be there,” said Turner.
MPD is also limiting access to and from its building. Police dispatchers will also be screening for possible coronavirus exposure.
“The library is following the lead of the schools,” said Keating. It will be closed as long as the schools are closed. Online services will still be available and there will be no fines for overdue books.
The Dept. of Public Works is rotating crews to limit the risk that one infected staff person could infect another.
There will also be no shut-offs of water to those with overdue bills. “We’re treating it like every person ton that list got a doctor’s notes,” said Turner.
“People need to sanitize, wash their hands,” he said. “We’re not shutting water off.”
Treasurer’s office will waive late fees on dog licenses.
The clerk’s office is encouraging residents to make payments online or through the drop box at the town office. Staff in the office will use gloves when handling cash.
Title searches are available between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. The public is asked to call and schedule an appointment rather than just coming in.
The recreation department is cancelling all programs until the end of April and issuing refunds. This includes the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
The planning and zoning offices are both open by appointment.
Following Monday’s meeting the community room will be closed until further notice.
Cleaning crews are disinfecting the town office building twice per day.
“All staff is being encouraged to stay in their own workspace,” said Keating and not visit other offices. The town is expecting meetings will begin to be held by teleconference.
Staff without childcare will be working from home.
“We want to try to keep as much open as we can,” Turner said. “We know that resident depend on us for lots of stuff.”
“As a whole, we’ll be open for the time being,” he said, noting that the situation may change rapidly.