Townsend recycling center to reopen, with restrictions

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TOWNSEND – After mulling the matter for three consecutive weeks and with new protocols in place, the Board of Health voted this week to re-open the recycling center on Saturday.

It has been closed for some time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But for now, it’s open to residents only, with drop-off options limited to yard debris.

In the first phase, the center will accept only brush and yard debris, which is free for town residents, and only one vehicle at a time can come in.

Items the center charges people to dispose of will not be accepted. That means no TV sets, electronics, furniture or other bulky items.

Customers with bulky items to dispose of – such as couches – can contact G.W. Shaw & Son to pick them up for a fee. The number to call for that service is 800-649-7419.

No Swap Shop for now, either. A complete no-fly list is posted on the town website.

As a nod to back-up since the shut down, the center will temporarily extend its hours and will be open from 7 a.m to 4 pm. (versus 7 to 2 previously.)

The initial phase-in period will last for three concurrent Saturdays: May 16, May 23 and May 30. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those dates. But it’s for yard waste only, health board members said.

For the time being, the center remains closed to out-of-town customers and won’t accept drop offs other than yard debris from anyone.

A complete list of do’s, don’ts and what is and is not open at the center is posted on the town website, along with a description of the operation, with only one customer allowed in at a time.

Here’s a snapshot. Residents on arrival stop at the gate and pull over to the left. A team member will greet them. ID’s (driver’s license/proof of residence) should be displayed through the vehicle’s closed window. Do not roll down car windows.

Residents with leaves and sticks to drop off should go to the designated area, where they can get out of their cars to unload. Team members will be there to assist, if needed, while maintaining a six-foot distance from each other and customers.

The health board wants residents to know why these rules are necessary and what measures are being taken for public health and safety reasons, including adherence to CDC and state guidelines.

Mandates include six-foot distancing and wearing masks in public places.

Other on-site standards include the following:

– All recycling center employees must wear masks and gloves when interacting with employees and other staff, with on-site hand washing stations available for their use.

– Customers must wear masks when they are out of their vehicles. Hand sanitizer is available for employees and the public to use and bleach is used regularly in areas that call for it.