Marion extends tax deadline, explains beach closure logic

Apr 7, 2020

MARION — Town Administrator Jay McGrail has gotten a number of calls about the town’s decision to close beach parking lots, so he had Board of Health member Dr. Edward Hoffer present to Selectmen on the matter at a virtual meeting on April 7. 

Selectmen also extended the deadline for real estate taxes until June 1, though they asked any resident who can pay before May 1 to do so, as it will help the sewer enterprise fund. However, all penalties will be waived until June 1. 

Hoffer explained that the town is projected to head into the peak of the infection period in the next week or so, and has very few measures available to protect residents. 

They include: “masks for what little they’re worth, good handwashing which is worth a lot, and social distancing,” Hoffer said. 

With many people wanting to get outside, the beach presented a problem on the third point, as Hoffer said that “Silvershell was wall to wall people.” 

He said the town could have spent lots of money to monitor it and only allow 20 or so people on the beach, but the more practical and immediately effective solution was to close the lot, effectively limiting the beach  to people who can walk there, a solution which he said “clearly has worked.” 

The doctor added that “We do not want to keep people away, but we do not want them to be so close that they are spreading disease.” 

He said he would work with McGrail on a strategy for reopening the beach after May 4.

Selectmen will vote Thursday on whether to postpone Town Meeting after speaking with the moderator, although Town Administator Jay McGrail said he would recommend that they do so.