April 28, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer (photo by Joshua Ross)
Let's hope for pleasant weather on May 8!
The 2021 Annual Town Meeting will take place that day on the Hingham High School multi-purpose field, similar to the annual and special Town Meetings that were held last year, with face mask requirements and social distancing in place.
"There will be a number of protocols to keep people safe, as with the previous Town Meetings [that took place during the pandemic]," Town Administrator Tom Mayo said.
The meeting will begin at 2 p.m., with May 15 and 16 reserved as rain dates if needed.
"This will be our third outdoor Town Meeting, and we've had pretty good luck with the weather to date," Mayo said. "Let's hope it continues on May 8!"
Asst. Town Administrator Michelle Monsegur explained that chairs will be set up on the playing field six feet apart, with overflow seating in the bleachers and social distancing in place.
"The weather for the first Town Meeting [held during the summer] was too hot, and the fall Special Town Meeting was too cold, so let's hope for Goldilocks weather May 8 -- just right!" she quipped.
Monsegur suggested that those planning to attend bring blankets if the weather is chilly and umbrellas to provide shade if it's a sunny day. There will not be tents this year.
She and Mayo are working with the newly-formed Hingham Commission on Disabilities to provide special Town Meeting accommodations for disabled individuals, including ensuring mobility-friendly seating, listening devices, and large-font warrants upon request through the Selectmen's office. (See the Hingham Anchor COD story for details). More information will be available on the town website, through Harbor Media public service announcements, and other outlets.
The three entrances into Town Meeting will be located by the three parking areas -- at the rear and front of the high school and at the far Union Street lot, with an increased number of spaces for the handicapped.
The check-in process will be contact-less, with social distancing guidelines in place.
"During a non-pandemic year, we would run shuttle buses from the South Shore Baptist Church parking lot, but not for this Town Meeting," Monsegur said.
There will be hand sanitizing and water stations, and restrooms will be available at the field house, along with porta-potties.
Microphones used by speakers will be cleaned in-between each one and the windscreens replaced each time. "We've had no issues in the past, and we want to keep it that way," Monsegur said.
The third time's the charm, she quipped. "Hopefully we will return to something more normal next year, but in the meantime, we're looking forward to May 8!"
Selectmen Chair Mary Power expressed appreciation for the police and fire chiefs and their staff, Monsegur, Mayo, Executive Health Officer Susan Sarni, and all others who are involved with the planning process. "A lot goes into an efficiently-run Town Meeting," Power said. "It doesn't just happen."