Mattapoisett COA gets update on slow reopening

Jun 4, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Council on Aging Director Jackie Coucci doesn’t expect to open the building fully until July or August, but gave board members a look into the planning process at a June 4 meeting. 

Coucci said that much of the challenge of reopening is that services that the COA offers fall under a variety of different phases of Gov. Baker’s plan. 

So the COA can still hold one-on-one services like tax appointments (as soon as they are authorized by the regional AARP) with six-foot tables in between participants. But something like an exercise class may not be possible until phase three or four of the state’s plan. 

Coucci made what she called a “fluid plan” to reopen and delivered it to Town Administrator Michael Lorenco. She is still waiting on his feedback. 

She said for tax appointments, seniors will wait in their cars or outside and call the Council on Aging to let them know they have arrived. 

Attendees will have a temperature and symptoms check at the door, and will have to wear masks. The COA will have a few disposable masks for those who don’t have them.

She said the building could reasonably accommodate six people at a time, in three rooms with the pairs more than six feet apart. 

Everything will be sanitized before and after every service. 

The town will install plexiglass partitions at desks and give the COA a movable plexiglass partition. Mattapoisett can also provide the COA with supplies like hand sanitizer until its order comes in.

Coucci wanted to emphasize that seniors can still get medical supplies and groceries from the Council On Aging if they are unable to go out themselves. 

“We will continue to do as much remotely as possible,” the director said.  

She pointed out some positives from the coronavirus pandemic, saying it “has opened us up to knowing more people than we ever have before/letting people know.” 

Coucci is also “glad our community is not pushing too fast to reopen.” 

She and Lorenco discontinued the Senior Work-off program at this time, but noted that former Town Administrator Michael Gagne made sure that all seniors would earn the maximum amount possible so they would not be adversely affected by the pandemic.