On January 11, the Warren Select Board unanimously voted to continue its mask mandate for another 30 days. The board approved the mask mandate for 45 days at an emergency meeting on November 30, 2021. The mandate states that masks must be worn indoors with exceptions for those under 2 years old, people with breathing issues, people whose work makes wearing masks dangerous and while eating or drinking. There is no enforcement mechanism.
The board discussed whether to hold Town Meeting Day in person, remotely or in a hybrid fashion, though no decisions have been made yet. Board members decided to wait to see what happens with the pandemic in coming weeks. Board members also discussed the possibility of holding Town Meeting outside in a heated tent or delaying Town Meeting until April. Voters would still vote on March 1, 2022.
The board continued its discussion on protecting the covered bridge in the village from damage by trucks and other large vehicles. Currently, orange barriers block a section of the bridge to discourage large trucks. Though the temporary solution is “pretty ugly,” board member Luke Youmell said, “It does work.” The bridge will be closed for reconstruction for approximately six months this year, beginning in summer.
This summer’s closure is not related to damage done recently by trucks. In 2014 the town received a grant to rehab the bridge’s concrete abutments and some other repairs to rockers and roller bearings, town administrator Cindi Hartshorn Jones explained. The recent damage to the bridge by oversize vehicles was limited to fascia damage and chips in the knee inside of the bridge.
The board discussed extending that closure from spring through Town Meeting in March 2023 and voting then on whether to make the closure to motorized vehicles permanent. “I see the value of closing the bridge” and assessing the community’s reaction, Youmell said. “My preference would be to not to discuss it until we’ve had the temporary shutdown for maybe six to eight months,” chair Andy Cunningham said.
The board also discussed the ongoing issue of parking in the village, specifically employee parking for village businesses. “We talk about this every year,” Youmell said. The board will review town zoning permits regarding parking in the village.