By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
Offices open to public with restrictions, as town seeks to limit number of visitors
(May 21, 2020) Even though Gov. Larry Hogan lifted his stay-at-home order last week, Berlin government will not have in-person public meetings for the remainder of May.
All meetings, including those by the mayor and Town Council or other boards and committees, will remain online for the rest of the month.
In a press release on Monday, Mayor Gee Williams announced Town Hall, the Planning Department, and the Berlin Welcome Center will be open for regular business hours with restrictions on the number of people who can be inside at one time. Visitors also will be required to wear face covering, as advised by the Maryland Department of Health.
The town will also resume regular recycling collection effective on Monday, June 1. For the time being, Stephen Decatur and Henry Parks will remain closed, as well as all public restrooms.
Additionally, signs will be posted asking visitors to consider their overall health before entering. Williams added, “In keeping with the guidelines, signs will be posted advising visitors of our restrictions and requirements, including whether they are currently not feeling well, or have not felt well in the preceding weeks, and indicating appropriate distances to maintain from other visitors.”
According to Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood and Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen, meetings will remain closed to the public, as in not allowed to enter Town Hall, following the guidelines and health regulations put into effect because of the covid-19 pandemic.
“Right now, all meetings through May will be via livestream, if they are held,” Fleetwood said.
The Historic District Commission and Planning Commission, which typically hold monthly meetings, will hold off assembling with residents as much as possible during the pandemic, Bohlen said.
“We’re not holding meetings if there’s not some necessary reason to hold it,” she said. “If it’s something that can be pushed off, then it’s getting pushed off. Anyone who has approached us wanting something to go in front of the planning commission or the historic district committee, the staff has a conversation with them about whether or not it can be pushed off.
“If it’s different things that require a deadline, or that sort of thing, that’s different,” Bohlen added.
As of earlier this week, there has been only one other meeting that took place on livestreaming outside of the mayor and Town Council sessions — the Historic District Commission on Wednesday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m.
The William Street entrance to Town Hall will be closed and all visitors will enter via the parking lot entrance off Bay Street until further notice.
To see the full list of available committee and commission meetings in Berlin, visit https://berlinmd.gov/government/boards-commissions-and-committees/.