Mattapoisett to begin reopening town buildings

Mar 2, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — The town will begin to open some of its municipal buildings as early as next week, as covid cases continue to decline.

“We are currently a green community — one of the few, actually — on the South Coast,” Town Administrator Michael Lorenco said at a March 2 Selectmen’s meeting.

The first building to open will likely be Town Hall, which could welcome four or five visitors at a time as early as next week.

“I’m more than happy to open up the buildings, I’d just like to have a method of keeping peoples’ names and numbers,” Lorenco said.

Town Hall will likely operate how it did when it was open last fall, with a limited number of visitors and contact tracing for all who enter the building. Lorenco noted that the town could use some of its old iPads to do the contact tracing.

Mattapoisett Free Public Library Executive Director Jennifer Jones also proposed a phased plan to reopen the library to the public.

In the plan, the library would be open for 15 hours a week, with a maximum of 30 visitors per hour in the first phase. In the second phase, both hours and occupancy would double.

The first phase may be implemented as early as March 13 if covid cases continue to decline, with phase two following if numbers stay low.

But Selectmen said they were more concerned with the proposed capacity than with any limitations on hours, and encouraged Jones to have the library open as many hours as possible with limited capacity.

Selectman Jordan Collyer said the only thing that would keep him from using the library right now is his ability to visit during operating hours.

“If my wife or I could take one of the kids down to the library I’d do it in a heartbeat,” he said.

In response to the feedback, Jones said she may be able to have the library open later on Wednesdays in order to allow more time for patrons to visit.

When the library opens, visitors can either make an appointment or come unannounced with the caveat that they won’t be let in if the building is at capacity. The library will also conduct contact tracing for all visitors.

Contactless pickup will remain available after the library reopens.

The Selectmen will likely also use the openings of the library and Town Hall to see whether other buildings, like the Council on Aging, should be reopened.

But Collyer said the earliest the COA will open is likely to be April.