GARDINER — City buildings in Gardiner will remain closed to the public through at least March 1 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to City Manager Christine Landes.

Municipal officials had announced they were closing city buildings to public access from the end of December through Jan. 18, citing expected increases in coronavirus infections over the holidays.

They extended the closure earlier this month, through Feb. 1, citing concern about the increase in daily COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, Landes said city officials would like to see a steady, downward trend in the number of new cases of the viral respiratory disease in Maine before reopening municipal offices and facilities to the public.

Over the past month, daily new case reports have fluctuated from highs in the 800s to lows in the 200s and 300s, some of which is due to weekend lags in data.

“There’s no stability in the numbers,” Landes said.

Through Sunday, 2,876 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Kennebec County.

In the Gardiner-West Gardiner area, 302 confirmed and probable cases had been reported through Jan. 17.

Across Kennebec County, measures taken by other municipal governments vary. Some, such as Windsor, advise people wear protective masks and maintain social distancing. Others, including Winthrop, are conducting business by appointment only.

While Gardiner’s municipal buildings are closed to the public, city employees will remain on the job during normal business hours and be available by telephone, email, mail and fax. There is also a drop box in front of City Hall, where payments may be deposited.

Many services are available online through the city’s website — gardinermaine.com — and the Maine state government’s website — maine.gov/informe.

The Gardiner Public Library will continue to offer no-contact “take-out” service through the window just inside the vestibule, but patrons should call ahead. Some services, such as computer loans and renewal of library cards, are available by telephone.

The City Council continues to meet virtually, with its meetings streamed on Facebook Live.

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