Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort has announced it will hold private fireworks July 4 around 9 p.m. The announcement came shortly after selectmen decided against holding the town’s annual fireworks display. The town has reached out to mitigate public safety collaboratively and Police Chief Bob Hasch and Sargent Pat Higgins will be treating the event as they always have in the past, Town Manager Julia Latter announced June 22.
Selectman Denise Griffin said while the offer to hold fireworks is generous, the reason the board decided not to hold the town’s is health concerns over COVID-19 which has been ramping up in cases across the U.S.
“… What's different about public safety this year is figuring out how to manage a possible crowd control. We may not have one, but given the fact that no other towns are doing this, I think that's the big issue … What I'm hearing … is that we are beginning to see outbreaks of COVID-19 in counties that didn't really have any before. It's very troubling and very concerning.”
Pending State Fire Marshall approval, the fireworks show will be launched from the middle of the inner harbor.
After the planning board granted Footbridge Brewery approval for outdoor seating June 10, selectmen granted the business approval for expansion of alcohol on premises. According to state law, the brewery is classified as a bar and bars are not allowed to provide indoor seating until a date after July 1 that has yet to be set.
Business co-owner Dan Pangburn said staff are following Center for Disease Control guidelines including masks, sanitary measures and social distancing from one another and customers.
“We are fortunate that we haven't had to shut down … It's pretty hard when people come in and ask 'Can we have a beer and sit outside? Can we sit inside?' and they turn and walk away. So, we're watching business go out the door even though we're doing everything the state's asking us to … That's why we're trying to get a little seating area out front even if it's just three tables and a standing area.”
Selectmen approved the application unanimously. Pangburn estimated a capacity of six to 10 customers.
Latter said the town has submitted a Keep Maine Healthy grant application for $38,157 to offset costs for COVID-19 health and safety precautions. The costs reflect 16 signs to be placed throughout town – at public restrooms, on the footbridge and at municipal docks and piers – and extra part-time hours for custodial work, hand sanitizer dispensers, refills, a filtered vacuum for the town office, face shields, two more sets of brochures/mailers and upgrades to the town website.
Board Chair Mike Tomko and Vice-Chair Tricia Warren were unanimously re-elected to those posts; Selectmen approved the appointment of former Salem, Massachusetts Fire Chief and EMA Director David Cody for Emergency Management Agency regional director; and Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, Harbor Tech Solutions and Shannon's Unshelled were granted a liquor license renewal and new victualer licenses, respectively.
The town office will be closed June 30 to finish closing the town's books in preparation for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.