LYNDON — The Select Board on Monday agreed to highly recommend that town employees mask up.
No vote was taken, but Select Board members strongly supported mask-wearing during the current COVID-19 surge.
Town Clerk Dawn Dwyer raised the issue out of concern that a COVID outbreak could strike the Public Works Department and impact snow clearing operations during the winter season.
Vermont reported record COVID numbers this week and cases are expected to sharply increase over the next month, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Speaking to the Select Board, Dwyer said, “It’s going to be your call when it goes through the road crew and you don’t have enough people, if any, and a storm comes through. Then what are you going to do?”
The Select Board stopped short of imposing a mask mandate for town employees.
Select Board Chair Christian Thompson said, “Voluntary compliance is the best way to get people to keep doing it.”
That approach has worked in the municipal building, where employees have agreed to mask up when they are in close proximity to each other.
In addition, Dwyer has required members of the public to wear masks in her office, and she reported full cooperation.
“I just think it’s a small sacrifice to make, to [allow us] to keep providing these services to our constituents,” she said.
The Select Board discussed whether COVID-infected employees should have to test negative before returning to work. No action was taken.
The existing procedure, to seek guidance from state health officials when an employee tests positive, will remain in place.
Measures to protect the Miller’s Run Covered Bridge remain in process.
The Select Board on Monday discussed the installation of video cameras on either end of the bridge, to capture license plate information of vehicles that strike and damage the bridge.
Vehicles exceeding the 11-foot-9 height limit frequently collide with the bridge despite signage in both directions. It was struck three times in 2011, most recently on Dec. 20.
The Select Board will approach a neighboring homeowner about placing a camera on their property, which overlooks the south entrance. That homeowner already operates a surveillance camera, but the resolution does not allow for license place verification.
Meanwhile, overhead clearance barriers will be installed at either end of the bridge, to prevent further collisions.
Those who violate the height and weight limit restrictions for the Miller’s Run Covered Bridge are currently fined $2,000 (first offense), $3,500 (second offense) and $5,000 (third offense).
Those fines will increase to $5,000 (first offense), $10,000 (second offense), and $15,000 (third offense) in the middle of next month.
The Select Board will update the language the include the overhead barriers at a later date.
Town officials are awaiting word from Montpelier before making final preparations for Town Meeting.
State lawmakers must decide if pandemic procedures — such as allowing meetings to be held remotely or rescheduled to a later date — will be allowed in 2022. A decision is expected within the week.