Like many towns and cities in Maine and across the U.S., Boothbay Harbor will put off July 4 fireworks. Following the canceled Windjammer Days by a week, the event would be in the middle of Gov. Janet Mills’ order to keep public gatherings to at most 50 people.
Town Manager Julia Latter said restaurants, inns and businesses have been asking what the town is planning to do. She said the fireworks company and barge owner Gerry Gamage are also waiting.
“Well, it’s hard not to see an area where there isn’t a large expanse of people watching,” said Chair Mike Tomko. “It’s a difficult call to make.”
Selectman Ken Fitch suggested the fireworks may be exactly what people need for a dose of normality. “In spite of what we’re hearing, I just think if it can be done properly, I think it could be helpful to the town. I just think it would lift people’s spirits.”
The problem is ensuring people will keep to social distancing throughout the harbor – a feat not easily managed if Boothbay Harbor were the only July 4 destination in the Midcoast, said Selectman Wendy Wolf. “We don’t have the personnel, anyone working for the town to make sure social distancing is happening … I don’t know how we would effectively communicate to people (any rules). I think it is the safest decision not to have the fireworks.”
The board will wait it out and investigate a later date.
The town office will be open by appointment only starting June 1, said Latter. Customers will be seen one at a time and the waiting area will be marked for social distancing at six feet. Everyone will be asked to wear masks. Latter said the website can still be used for payments and various business can be conducted by email or the dropbox at the front entrance. Board and committee meetings will also be held in the town office starting June 1 and will adhere to current safety protocol of the 10-person limit, social distancing of six feet and wearing of masks. Selectmen ask only those with essential business to attend public meetings.
Selectmen approved all but one license application – Footbridge Brewery for extension of alcohol on premises – until the business gets planning board approval, proposed for June 10.