Town Manager Sarah Stanton announced at Monday’s Select Board meeting that municipal offices will reopen to the public during normal business hours beginning next Tuesday, June 1. This follows 15 months of closure or appointment-only access.
Stanton also said that she expects meetings of town boards and committees to continue virtually through the summer, with the option to meet in person beginning in the fall.
The town manager noted that the Massachusetts state of emergency is set to end on June 16, which means that several pandemic-era provisions, like virtual meetings, will end — unless special legislation is passed and signed by the governor. She said she expects there will be successful legislation that will relax in-person open meeting requirements.
On Aug. 14, pandemic response features like expanded outdoor dining, to-go cocktails, and capped third-party delivery fees will expire without legislative action. Stanton said that she similarly expects more legislative action on some of these programs.
The statewide face-covering order will be lifted as of May 29. However, masks are still required in schools, public transportation, healthcare facilities, and congregate care settings.
The trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library are encouraging use of face coverings when the library reopens on June 2, Stanton said.
While communities throughout the United States struggle with youth vaccinations, Stanton highlighted that 81 percent of Bedford’s 16–19-year-old population has received at least one shot, with 51 percent fully vaccinated. Among all residents, 64 percent have received at least one dose and 51 percent are fully vaccinated. Stanton urged residents to get vaccinated.
Stanton also reiterated the information that Gov. Charlie Baker announced on May 17: all remaining Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted on Saturday. The decision to move up the full reopening date from Aug. 1 to May 29 was due to updated federal guidance and vaccination efforts.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763