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City and town halls reopen Monday, will look different

City and town halls across Maine are permitted to reopen to the public on Monday, June 1. Most will look physically different, some open by appointment only.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Editor’s note: You've probably heard the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

Per the governor's slow reopening plan, town and city halls are permitted to reopen to the public starting Monday, June 1. However, in many instances, with a new look. 

"As we reopen to the public, we're going to look a lot like what you see in the retail environment," says Augusta's Director of Developmental Services Matt Nazar. 

At Augusta City Hall, folks will see marked pathways, urging "one-way" traffic. They'll also see plexiglass barriers wherever interaction with another person is required.   

Employees at Augusta City Hall will greet folks outside and regulate how many people go in. Approximately 16 visitors will be allowed inside at once. 

Nazar says it will be a familiar sight to most. "If you've been going to the grocery store, it will look familiar when you walk in."

While doors will be open to the public once again, Nazar says he hopes people still consider whether they can accomplish what they need from home, rather than go inside their local office. 

"We do still encourage people to do as much as they can online," says Nazar. Phone calls and emails are also encouraged. 

In Lewiston, City Hall will be open by appointment only. 

Lewiston City Administrator Edward Barrett says, "We'll have someone outside asking if you have an appointment. If you don't, we'll call up to the department and ask if they can see you right then." 

Barrett says he expects there will be lasting impacts of having city hall doors closed for months. 

"People, I think, have learned that there are a lot more ways to do business with the government than there were in the past, that it's not always necessary to come to city hall in person."

One of the few things you must do in-person at your local city or town hall is register a new car.

While the state wasn't fining folks for expired registration during the initial months of the pandemic, it will begin to do so once again starting June 11.

RELATED: Reminder: Portland brings back parking enforcement and purple trash bags June 1

RELATED: Real-time Maine coronavirus COVID-19 updates for Friday, May 29

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist


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