Auburn implements temporary Covid restrictions in certain municipal buildings

by | Jan 4, 2022

January 3, 2022

2021 was a challenging yet hopeful year as it began under continuing pandemic challenges and a statewide State of Emergency that was lifted in June. As the Covid vaccines were rolled out for various population groups, there was a sense of hope that we may soon return to a new, post-pandemic normal. The statewide and local State of Emergency were lifted in June and residents, businesses and the community began to resume certain activities while remaining vigilant.

As fall arrived so, too, did an increase in Covid cases here in Auburn, across the Commonwealth and nationwide. The Town of Auburn implemented a Mask Order at the end of September in all visitors to municipal offices are required to wear masks and all employees wear masks in public spaces and in work spaces unless 6 foot social distancing can be maintained. As cases continued to climb, which impacted our residents and our employees, we urged our employees to hold meetings remotely if possible and to continue to adhere to the Mask Order.

As we close out a tumultuous 2021 and usher in the new year, Covid cases have once again risen rapidly. The number of cases spiked following Halloween then again following Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to New Years, Auburn averaged 118 new cases per week, with 199 between Christmas and New Years alone. As of Monday, January 3rd, we are reporting 113 new cases in a four-day period. The total number of cases in Auburn since the start of the pandemic now exceeds 3,000.

It is important to note that with the increased use of home testing kits – albeit recent difficulty in buying these kits – it is very likely that the number of positive cases in Auburn exceeds the official numbers we receive. The reason for this is that the Town is provided with data on positive cases that were confirmed through in-lab testing. Home testing results are not always reported to the Town.

As a result of the significant increase in cases in Auburn, statewide and nationally, and due to the anticipated increase in cases expected over the next few weeks, the Town of Auburn will be taking the following precautionary measures effective January 5, 2022:

  • The Auburn Public Library will be closed to the public and will resume Curbside Pick-up and Drop off during Library Hours as posted on their website.
  • The Lorraine Gleick Nordgren Senior Center will be closed to the public. All programs and events will be cancelled. Meals on Wheels will still be packaged at the Senior Center and delivered on the regular schedule.
  • Town Hall will be closed to the public. The Service Window in the Treasurer/Collector’s Office will be re-opened during regular Town Hall hours. The Drive-Through Kiosk in the parking lot at Town Hall will be re-opened and staffed during the following hours:
    o Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    o Friday 8:00 AM through 1:00 PM.
  • Residents, businesses and visitors can drop off applications and pick up permits and licenses at the Kiosk. Please call the relevant department to arrange for any documents to be ready for you at the Kiosk.
  • All town employees will be working in their offices during normally scheduled hours of operation. Business can be conducted by telephone or email. Remote meetings can be scheduled with employees as needed. Many permits and licenses are available on-line. Please check for details.
  • The customer service area of the Department of Public Works (DPW) will be closed to the public. Assistance is available via telephone during normal business hours.
  • The customer service areas of our public health facilities, the Police and Fire Departments, will remain open but visitors are still required to wear masks to enter the building and maintain 6 foot distancing from others.
  • We strongly encourage all Town boards, commissions and committees to hold their public meetings remotely, although if not possible, hybrid meetings are still recommended.

This temporary closure will be in place through January 29, 2022. We will revisit the data later in January to determine if these closures should be extended.

Town administration will continue to provide critical and important services to the residents and businesses of Auburn for the remainder of the month of January, even if the methods of delivery are not considered traditional. The Drive Through Kiosk, the Service Window in the Treasurer/Collector’s Office, and the Outside Drop Box, coupled with on-line permitting and licensing options and access to town employees by phone will enable residents, businesses and taxpayers to conduct their municipal business while keeping them, as well as our employees, safe during the pandemic.

Once again we need to remind the public to be respectful of each other. We implore those who post on the Town’s official Facebook page to be respectful and engage in civil discourse. Town Administration has an obligation to educate and provide outreach to the community about public health issues and Covid-19 is a significant public health issue. We will continue to post educational materials and flyers on our official Town of Auburn website and on our official Town of Auburn social media pages as we must do everything we can to curb the spread of this virus. While some may be weary of hearing these messages, we cannot and will not stop trying to educate the citizenry on all public health matters as part of our efforts to keep our community healthy and safe.

We urge everyone to continue to be vigilant and take measures to protect themselves and their families to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19 to family, friends, customers and patrons.