Fenwick Town Hall Reopening Discussed

FENWICK ISLAND – After a year of closure, officials in Fenwick Island last month agreed to reopen town hall for town-related events.

On June 25, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted 6-1, with Councilwoman Vicki Carmean opposed, to reopen town hall for official town-related meetings later this month.

Town Manager Terry Tieman said town staff recommended reconvening in-person meetings after July 13, which marks the end of Delaware’s state of emergency.

“The governor will be lifting the emergency order on July 13, which means that we’ll start to conduct in-person meetings once again,” she said. “We’ll also continue, at the discretion of the mayor, to do Zoom if that’s what you want to do.”

While town hall would reopen for town-related events, Tieman said it would not open for outside events and meetings. Tieman noted the outside lobby of town hall would remain open for people to conduct their business. The building’s restrooms and interior lobby would remain closed to the public.

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“Just town meetings would be allowed, no outside meetings,” Mayor Gene Langan added. “If we did allow that, we are going to have to scrub the bathrooms after use and all kinds of things, so we’re not letting outsiders use the restrooms this summer.”

Carmean questioned why Fenwick Island was hesitant to fully reopen its town hall.

“I think we are being overzealous,” she said. “It’s time to get back to the real world.”

Officials, however, noted it was a safer approach.

“We’re in a resort town, and we’re getting people from all over the country, or many states …,” Councilman Bill Weistling said. “We’re getting better, COVID is starting to pass, but I don’t think it hurts for us to play it safe another couple months.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 6-1 for its town hall reopening plan.

“I want to get back to normal,” Carmean said.

Officials last month also voted to reaffirm its special event requirements for the summer season.

“We’re just asking council to reaffirm the summer events resolution we had in March and that we will continue to allow outdoor seating and retail up to November,” Tieman said.

In March, the council voted to relax special event requirements in the town’s code to assist businesses in opening their doors and maintain a safe physical distance. Tieman asked council members last week to reaffirm its decision despite the state’s lifting of its emergency declaration.

The council voted 6-1, with Carmean opposed, to reaffirm their decision.

“I want to go back to what is normal, and I don’t see the need for anything special …,” she said. “I think all these special exceptions create problems.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.