YORK, Maine — In a nearly empty room, town officials discussed recent developments and procedures at Monday evening’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
Three members were present in the room, Todd Frederick, Robert Palmer and Michael Estes, while selectwoman Marilyn McLaughlin participated over the phone. Selectwoman Elizabeth Blanchard was absent.
Frederick, the board’s chair, urged the public to continue social distancing during the coronavirus emergency and to check in with neighbors. He thanked all essential personnel working during this time.
"I can’t stress enough that we need to keep our distance, we need to act a little differently during the national emergency we’re in," he said. "As much as we joke sometimes about social distancing, it’s vitally important."
Frederick thanked local health care workers, school and municipal employees, police, firefighters and first responders.
"This is probably the largest challenge of your careers with this pandemic. We thank you," he said.
Frederick also highlighted the recent efforts to combat food insecurity. He praised the York Community Services Association for their food pantry and encouraged the community to donate Hannaford gift cards, which YCSA gives to shoppers in need.
"We’re all really proud of the community," he said.
Frederick also urged residents to "take advantage of restaurants in town, as best you can to support our local establishments."
The selectmen, under the advice of Town Manager Steve Burns, moved to allow the town to pull up to $10,000 from the contingency fund in the event of a coronavirus-related emergency. They also moved to tap into the town supplementary fund, if the contingency were to be exhausted.
"That’s what it’s for," Burns said. "Whether it's a coastal storm or epidemic, you have $100,000 you can tap into. If something really big happens, we’ve got it covered."
During the meeting, the selectmen unanimously approved a three-year contract renewal for Burns and thanked him for his service.
Estes questioned whether the town needed to close its four beaches.
"I thought people were keeping a good distance, and Parks and Rec had advised us that we should go outside and get fresh air," Estes said.
Burns replied that he believed this was the best course of action for the present.
There was also talk about shutting down trails at Mount Agamenticus for similar concerns about social-distancing protocols.
Police Chief Charles Szenawski addressed one of the newest concerns: scamming of senior citizens regarding coronavirus issues.
"There are fake CDC emails, and phishing emails are being sent out to seniors," he said. "Don’t click on anything that has attachments, they may contain malware, unless you can verify the source."
He said scammers "create a sense of urgency" around giving information away.
"They make it sound like you need to enter your personal information or you’ll lose a medicare check or something. It’s not real," Szenawski said.
He also urged people to be careful when answering the phone, downloading apps, responding to donation requests or considering claims of a possible coronavirus cure.
"Right now, there's no pills, no potions, no lotions, nothing that will cure COVID-19. It’s a scam," he said.
The best sources for reliable information are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov, Szenawski said.