BERLIN – As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Berlin announced additional precautions — including a move to online meetings and a mask mandate for busy shopping days — to protect health and safety.
The town announced on Wednesday that meetings were in the process of being moved online and that an emergency declaration would require masks on the dates of Ice Ice Berlin, Small Business Saturday and December’s Second Friday—busy shopping days in town. Beginning Monday, public access to town buildings will be restricted and board and commission meetings will be canceled until preparations can be made to meet entirely online.
“We’re going to be exploring using Zoom,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said. “We’re reaching out to neighboring municipalities to see how it’s working out for them.”
Tyndall said Facebook Live had worked well to broadcast town meetings but that as COVID-19 cases increased, he wanted people to be able to meet entirely online. That way, if someone has to quarantine at home they can still participate. He’s hopeful that a transition to meetings via Zoom can begin in December but acknowledged that some training might be required to ensure all boards could use the platform to meet.
“The game plan is to ramp that up into December,” he said. “We’re trying to get that up and running as quickly as possible.”
Other changes enacted by Tyndall include the closure of town buildings to the public, modified schedules for town staff and no public attendance at town council meetings. Those meetings will be livestreamed on Facebook until Zoom is in use. Board and commission meetings will be canceled until they can meet entirely online.
Tyndall, with the unanimous support of the council, has also issued a civil emergency declaration requiring face coverings in the B-1 Town Center District on Friday, Nov. 27, Saturday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Dec. 11.
“We’re looking at our busiest shopping days,” Tyndall said. “With what occurred on Oktoberfest, in preparation for our busy holiday season we realized maintaining social distance of six feet is not always possible.”
For more information on Berlin’s COVID-19 precautions visit berlinmd.gov.