WATERVILLE — The city’s COVID-19 Task Force on Tuesday announced it wanted to clarify that bars and restaurants it ordered closed Monday may still offer pickup and delivery services.

The force also recommends the City Council allocate up to $150,000 from reserve funds for expenses that may arise because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a task force release issued late Tuesday afternoon by task force co-spokesman Erik Thomas, who also is City Council chairman.

The task force met Tuesday for the second time in two days. Its release says it is relying on voluntary compliance by restaurants and bars, but also recommending that the council discuss action at its meeting Tuesday night to clarify what authority the city manager and police department have to enforce closures and curfews recommended by the task force.

“The city is evaluating recommendations for the operation of restaurants, bars and other places where the public gathers moving forward in order to ensure public safety,” the release stated. “We appreciate patience. The task force is in contact with the Maine Municipal Association in order to be on top of state and federal resources that may be made available to the city to offset costs associated with responding to COVID-19.”

The task force recommends the council waive cloture at Tuesday’s meeting to be able to vote to establish a “Coronavirus Emergency Response Team” to make time-sensitive decisions in the interest of public health.

The task force will operate under the Incident Command System used by the police and fire department in times of emergency, according to the release.

“The city will be in contact with potentially vulnerable facilities in the city to ensure they have the resources to provide for their clientele. This includes nursing homes and the homeless shelter. The task force is recommending that the city purchase surplus supplies that local businesses may be left with due to closings, especially perishable food items, and allocate those resources appropriately to local organizations that may have need. This is a high priority that we will be dealing with immediately.”

The emergency operations center at the Fire Department, it says, is making progress in coordinating and preparing for adequate staffing of emergency services to include fire, police, and public works; establishing open lines of communications with Inland Hospital, Thayer Center for Health, Oak Grove Center, Lakewood, and The Woodlands; and establishing open lines of communications with local grocery stores and food banks.

Questions may be emailed to [email protected] , according to the release.


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