Camden Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell sent the following April 8: The Governor’s statements from April 7and Executive Orders issued on April 4 andMarch 31 have raised a lot of questions about what this means for the Town and our residents. The following is an overview of how Camden operations will move forward to remain compliant with the Governor’s order:
Social distancing is no longer a recommendation; it’s now a law that can be enforced by the Police Department. Violations are considered class E crimes and are subject to up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. It should be noted that the Camden Police Department will be primarily focusing on educating residents/members of the public who are not social distancing about the need to do so with enforcement as a last resort for those who are non-compliant.
Those seasonal residents returning to Maine, or visitors, must quarantine themselves for 14 days. Visitors are not to travel to Maine is they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are travelling from cities and regions that are considered COVID-19 “hot spots”, including Detroit, Chicago and New York City. Residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are to refrain from travel to Maine.
Outside exercise is still allowed, provided people maintain social distancing. This means not congregating in groups larger than 10 and maintaining 6 feet of distance between people. The Town of Camden will continue to keep our public open spaces open for public use. I would like to ask people that if they arrive at an outdoor recreation area and the parking lot is full to please have several alternative locations planned that you can go to instead. This will help us to better manage these spaces to avoid over-crowding.
It should be noted that there is a great deal of grey area regarding the Stay at Home Safe Order. The Town has fielded a lot of questions about what this order means around activities like going for leisurely drives, hiking with friends, traveling to a from essential services or employment, etc. The Police Department is pursuing a strategy of education and voluntary compliance. Enforcement action will only be taken when there is an egregious violation.
Lodging operations and accommodations including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals and parks for recreational vehicles and campgrounds and all public and private camping facilities are to close. There are a number of exceptions, identified in the Governor’s Executive Order. Any owner of a lodging operation or accommodation who has questions is encouraged to contact the Town.
Public Works and Wastewater Treatment are considered essential services under the Governor’s order. Our Public Works and Wastewater Departments will be continuing to do work on roads, drainage and sewer lines as well as other projects around town. In many ways this affords this Departments, and contractors, the opportunity to do work on our roads when traffic volume is greatly reduced and when there will be very minimal impact on local businesses. We have taken measures to ensure the safety of our employees in these Departments, including dividing the crews into shifts, and ensuring they can maintain social distancing while working.
All Town employees will continue to work and administrative personnel will strictly work remotely unless there’s an urgent need for them to be in the Town Office.
Assessors will continue to do inspections but will not enter homes.
The Code Enforcement Officer will continue to do inspections, which they work with contractors and home owners to schedule and conduct in a safe manner.
For businesses that need assistance accessing emergency funds we’d like to encourage to reach out to Jeremy Martin, the Town’s Planning and Development Director: email@example.com. Jeremy, in partnership with local lending institutions, can help guide you through the SBA’s Disaster Assistance loan program.
For individuals that need assistance we encourage you to reach out to our General Assistance Director, Janice Esancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There remains to be a lot of uncertainty around elections and Town Meeting in June. While the Governor has recently stated that it’s unlikely the State’s June elections will move forward and has suggested the July 14 may be the alternative date, we do not know what this will mean for local elections and Town Meeting. The Town will continue to move business forward in preparation for a June Town Meeting with the full understanding that plans may change.
Once again, I would like to thank everyone for doing your part to keep our community safe. We should be proud of how our community has collectively responded to this unique crisis; from what Town staff and I have observed, the vast majority of our residents are doing their absolute best to practice social distancing. If there was ever a time when our individual behaviors mattered the most it’s now. The coming month will be challenging for us all. The Town will continue to do our best to keep everyone informed and safe.
Audra Caler-Bell, Camden town manager