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Saugus shutters municipal buildings
By Elyse Carmosino | March 18, 2020
SAUGUS — Saugus officials are taking additional measures to ensure town operations run smoothly in the midst of numerous COVID-19-related closures.
In a statement released Monday, Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree announced the closing of all municipal buildings beginning Tuesday, March 17, and detailed plans for several branches of local government to continue operations remotely.
The press release also announced extended hours for the town’s public health nurse, as well as the hiring of both an additional nurse and a former director of public health to assist the Saugus Board of Health as it addresses the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As has been widely reported, the number of cases in Massachusetts and nationally increases daily,” Crabtree’s statement read. “Public health professionals advise dramatic action to slow the spread of this virus and to minimize the impact on the most vulnerable segments of the population.”
Town Hall, Town Hall Annex, the senior center, Saugus Public Library, the Department of Public Works, Youth and Recreation, and Saugus Public Schools will all remain closed until further notice.
However, residents will still be able to submit requests for vital records and dog licenses via mail-in request forms, and marriage licenses will still be available (by appointment-only).
Senior center staff will also remain available by phone during regular hours of operation, and library staff will answer phone calls and emails as they come in. Item due-dates and fine accruals were frozen as of 4:30 p.m. March 14.
“This is an evolving situation and we will adjust our response as circumstances require,” Crabtree said. “Town officials will continue to update the community as new information becomes available.”
The decision to close municipal buildings was made following recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
On Sunday, Baker announced that gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited throughout the commonwealth, and ordered restaurants to halt in-house food services.
“In compliance with these orders, the town of Saugus has joined numerous surrounding communities in making the decision to close municipal buildings to the public during this time in an effort to combat this pandemic through social distancing, community mitigation, and public health intervention,” Crabtree said.
Residents are encouraged to use online services for the length of the closings, and will still be able to call or email Town Hall departments during regular hours.
Health department, fire, police, emergency management, and emergency medical services will continue to operate.
More information on municipal operations can be found online at www.saugus-ma.gov.