Selectmen Discuss Policy Change to Town Facilities

By Alex Malm

During the Nov. 18 Chester Board of Selectmen meeting one of the agenda items discussed was in regards to policies for renting out town facilities.

It was explained by Recreation Director Corinna Reishus that when they amended the COVID policies for the Town facilities in June, one of the requirements was that the facility would have to be cleaned after every use.

“We’re still following the CDC guidelines,” Reishus said.

Selectmen Steven Couture pointed out that because of the limited staff the Town has it is limiting the number of events they are able to have in their facilities.

It’s one of the reasons why he thinks the Board of Selectmen should change the policy.

“I see it as an unnecessary restriction on the Town facilities,” Couture said.

One of the questions that was asked was whether or not any groups had to be denied use of the facility based on the policy.

Reishus said that they haven’t had to deny any at this point.

She explained that right now after groups use the facilities they are cleaned by Town staff before the next group uses it.

One of the suggestions brought up by Selectmen Chairman Chuck Myette is to charge a cleaning fee for outside groups and then they could hire an independent cleaning company to clean after each of the uses.

Couture pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic could possibly continue for some time.

“Is this how we want to continue to operate the community under these restrictions,” Couture asked. “They’re guidelines they’re not regulations.”

Although he felt that they should eliminate the requirement for cleaning after each use, he said that he understands that it would be up to the majority to change the policy.

“I’m not gonna fall on a sword on this,” Couture said.

Myette said that he thought they should stick with the CDC guidelines unless there’s a clear policy that they vote on that changes the facility policy.

He noted that throughout the pandemic they have been following the CDC guidelines when they have created policies for the Town.

Selectmen Stephen D’Angelo explained that he felt that they needed to have a policy drafted for exactly what they wanted to do before they could take a vote on it.

It was decided that they would discuss a possible policy change again at a future meeting. Because Reishus wouldn’t be at the next meeting due to a planned trip they will revisit it at their Dec. 9 meeting.

The next Chester Board of Selectmen meeting is slated for Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.