The Town of Lyons Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Wednesday to continue the discussion of the Town’s response to COVID-19.
Trustees Hollie Rogin and Kenyon Waugh reported the results of their Business Impact Survey. The survey indicated that, of the businesses that responded, nine reported layoffs and one stated it was delaying hiring for the summer. At least 64% of the businesses had applied for assistance from the Small Business Administration, the Lyons Community Foundation, or another source; 50% said they had a COVID-19 coordinator, and 40% had posted COVID-19 signage. All either screened their employees or asked that their employees screen themselves for symptoms. All but one business provide PPE (personal protective equipment) to employees, and some even offer masks to customers. Most businesses have vulnerable-population hours. Sixty-five percent have options for contactless payments and curbside services.
It was proposed that Town Hall inform businesses of Town regulations regarding COVID-19 via a weekly email. Businesses will be required to post signs created by Town Hall stating that masks are required in all face-to-face interactions (both employees and customers); hand sanitizer is to be used by employees before and after all transactions; and physical distancing of six feet is to be maintained at all times.
The Board voted to extend the COVID-19 resolution that businesses require masks (as opposed to simply recommending masks) for employees and customers. The resolution will be in effect for three weeks beyond the date that signs are delivered to businesses by the Town.
Innovative ways of staying safe were also discussed, such as engaging artists and children in drawing six-foot markings on sidewalks outside businesses, and outdoor pop-up sites for retailers and restaurants along High Street, in the parking lot next to Defined Motion, or in the 446 Main Street lot. Also among the considerations was the possibility of having one-way sidewalks along Main to allow for distancing, though there were quite a few questions about whether this would be practical.
There were many concerns expressed about the presence of groups of people in the parks and at kayaking holes who were failing to observe the recommendations of face masks and physical distancing. Despite the closure of the parking lots, people are still congregating, often parking in neighborhoods and along Fifth Avenue. Proposals were made to post no parking signs in those areas and to close the Second Avenue lot near the wastewater treatment plant to discourage visitors. Trustees discussed closing the parks to everyone, or closing them on weekends only. They ruled to suspend tent camping until June 4, because tent campers require the availability of restrooms. Those facilities are currently closed due to lack of Parks and Recreation funds and personnel to keep them COVID-19 clean. RV camping at LaVern M. Johnson Park will continue to be permitted.
The Trustees voted to cancel the Outdoor Games and Good Ol’ Day events. Earlier in the month, the Board had voted to postpone Outdoor Games until September, but, at this meeting, it determined that the low flow of the river at that time of year would make the kayaking competition impossible, likely resulting in a small turnout and a financial loss for the Town. Because of COVID-19 concerns, the class reunions scheduled for Good Ol’ Day had already been canceled. There were questions about the accessibility of the elementary school playground for the children’s activities that are normally part of that event. Currently, all playgrounds in the town are closed.
The Trustees discussed the feasibility of holding the Sandstone Concerts this summer, with several remarking on how much they enjoyed this summer tradition. The Board decided to delay a decision regarding whether to cancel the summer series, which is scheduled to begin on June 11 and run for 10 weeks. The Board will consider postponing the series and changing the venue to allow for more distancing. LaVern M. Johnson Park was mentioned as a likely site. The Board agreed to revisit Sandstone Concerts in the third week of June for the July dates.
As previously announced, the music festivals at Planet Bluegrass have been canceled.
In response to a request for guidance from Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen about resuming normal operations at Town Hall, the Board deferred to staff to determine when and under what conditions they felt comfortable. This could include limiting their days at Town Hall and seeing the public by appointment outside.