Board of Health discusses reopening strategies as May 18 approaches

SOUTHWICK- The Board of Health May 14 discussed what the process of reopening the town will look like in the near future during its remote meeting. 

Health Director Tammy Spencer said during the meeting that she has been receiving many proposals from local businesses for their plans to reopen their doors safely to customers. 

As the first phase of reopening could begin Monday, May 18 per Gov. Charlie D. Baker, local businesses such as the Agawam Revolver Club, The Wick 338, and the American Legion have all approached the Health Department to give their plan to reopen. 

The Board of Health voted unanimously to allow the Agawam Revolver Club to reopen with certain conditions.

“They have a similar plan to the golf courses. There will be social distancing at all three outdoor ranges for both shooters and observers,” said Spencer, “They will also spray paint these positions if necessary.”

All persons will also be asked to wear face masks and are recommended to also wear gloves. There will be a maximum number of people who can use the range at once, and every gun must be cleaned between uses if it will be used by more than one person. 

The Wick 338 Motocross also gave its proposal, which included limiting cash contact points, limiting the number of riders at a given time, and pushed the date for the Pro National Motocross Race to at least Labor Day weekend. 

The Revolver Club and The Wick are two of several considerations the Board of Health will be making as they decide how to go about reopening the town. 

As far as public establishments like Town Hall, Spencer said a phased approach similar to Baker’s plan to reopen the state would be ideal. 

Much of their planning, however, largely depends on what information Baker offers on May 18 for the statewide reopening plan. 

“During the conference call for the Office for Local and Regional Public Health we were told that no information would be given to local boards of health until Monday,” said Spencer. 

Selectman Douglas A. Moglin said during the Board of Health meeting that he is concerned that some businesses in town will try to open up during phase one of the statewide reopening when they would really be in phase three or four.

Board of Health member Dr. Jerry Azia said that he expects the Health Department to receive a high volume of phone calls on Monday from businesses asking if they are going to be able to reopen. 

Moglin then said that he does not expect that many businesses will be able to reopen until Tuesday, as they currently have little information about what businesses will be covered in Baker’s announcement Monday.

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