CALAIS, Maine (NEWS CENTER)—On Wednesday, workers and community members protested the closing of the Department Of Health and Human Services office.

DHHS announced that it was closing the Calais office last month. The $100K annual lease for the building is up on October 31st and it will not be renewed.

Instead of losing their jobs, Calais workers will be relocated to the Machias office along with all of the clients.

Nearly 20 people protested the decision which would require workers to travel 90 miles per day.

Laverne Redding, a worker at the Calais office, said the decision will create a hardship for not only the employees but for the people who use these services as well.

Clients and workers would have to travel 90 miles per day to get to work or seek help.

“I’m going to be out here all day supporting my fellow workers and fellow community members. My biggest fear is that the elderly are just going to say it’s not worth it and not get the benefits that they can truly use,” said Redding.

The decision to close the Calais office has pushed Redding to retire early. She said the commute is too much of a hardship on her and her family.

DHHS said they will continue their online services and will set up weekly face-to-face meetings with clients.

A meeting to possibly reverse the decision will take place next month between Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Calais Representative, Joyce Maker.