Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Town of New Castle Update

Town of New Castle – COVID-19 Update

We hope that this note finds you and your family doing well.  These are trying times for all, but as a community (even while social distancing) we’ll get through this.  Be caring, be kind and take care of one another by observing all COVID-19 guidance from the CDC, Federal and State Government, and local authorities.

Below are some of the current recommendations, for complete information please visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

  • Hand Washing (consistent and regular) 
  • Social Distancing (Minimum of 6’ apart, preferably 10’ apart)
  • Limit groups to a maximum of 5 people implementing social distancing always
  • Limit time outside the home (Limit to essential tasks, food shopping, medical etc.)
  • When outside the home it is recommended wearing a face mask to protect you and others
  • Wipe down home and work areas regularly (counters, doorknobs, desks, computers etc.)
  • Do not leave home if you may have been exposed to the virus, feel ill or in any way are uncomfortable about being in public unless to seek medical treatment.  If you have any type of emergency contact 911 immediately.

The Select Board thought it important to communicate in this letter some of the recent changes that have been happening in Town.   This information changes often and can’t always be updated in a letter, please monitor the Town website www.NewCastleNH.org for up to date information and please sign up for notifications (Notify Me! On the website) to receive email information directly from the Town.

Town Buildings and Town Business

The Town has closed all buildings to the public through May 4, 2020.  It has implemented specific guidance for essential employees to enter the building to administer to essential duties.

All Town business should be conducted through the mail, use of the mail slot on the front door of Town Hall or through the Town website.  Town personnel will be reviewing email, voicemail and monitor the mail during the shutdown period.  Should you need something that can’t be done using those methods, please call Town Hall 603-431-6710 and someone will be able to assist you or will respond to your voicemail message.

The Town Clerk has posted additional relevant information regarding DMV, Vital Statistics, Voter Registration and Property Taxes in the Town Clerk section of the Town Website and on the door at Town Hall.  

Town Government and Land Use Board Meetings:

Town Committee and Board Meetings scheduled to be held between March 30, 2020 and May 4, 2020 are cancelled pursuant to guidance from the State and in accordance with the Governor’s Emergency order #12, #16, #23, and #26

If a Board or Committee Chairperson deems it essential to hold an emergency public meeting prior to May 4, 2020 that meeting will be held virtually and utilizing specific parameters as outlined by the State.  Specific guidance will be given to the Chairperson of that Committee or Board by the Select Board prior to scheduling a meeting.  Below is a general outline of State requirements: 

The requirement that the public body still provide a physical location to allow public access to the meeting was waived by Emergency Order #12, Section 4, so long as the public body:

  • Provides public access to the meeting by telephone, with additional access possibilities by video or other electronic means
  • Provides public notice of the necessary information for accessing the meeting
  • Provides a mechanism for the public to alert the public body during the meeting if there are problems with access; and
  • Adjourns the meeting if the public is unable to access the meeting.

Based on current guidance from the State and the emergency declaration of the Health Officer, Public Hearings are not being held either in person or virtually during the period up to May 4, 2020.

Town Meeting is being rescheduled to June 23, 2020.  Please look for additional communication on this.  The Town Election presently schedule for May 12, 2020 may also be moved to June 23, 2020.  In order to change the election date, there is a mechanism to postpone the election for two-week intervals if an emergency exists.  It is presently anticipated that this will be done 3 times to reach the June 23rd date.  That mechanism, if invoked, can only be done so the day prior to the meeting so please monitor communications from the Town leading up to the meeting date.

Travel and Parking Restrictions

The Town is restricting parking in some areas and limiting parking to residents only in several locations. 

  • The New Castle Beach and Children’s Playground at New Castle Common are closed
  • The New Castle Common and Beach are closed to all vehicle traffic
  • Maude H. Trefethen School (under SAU50) is closed with no parking or playground access
  • The Town parking areas off Wentworth Road near the Coast Guard Station and the UNH Pier are resident parking only at all times
  • Ocean Road posted as local traffic only and no parking.  There are three resident parking spaces near the beach that will remain available for residents to park
  • Piscataqua Street and Cranfield Street converted to one-way traffic only (in accordance with summer traffic patterns)
  • Parking on Piscataqua Street and Cranfield Street restricted to resident only parking at all times
  • Wild Rose Lane will be posted as local traffic only and no parking
  • Parking area at the Recreation Building / Library restricted to resident parking only at all times
  • The Town has requested that the Wentworth Hotel overflow parking area on Route 1B be closed off to public parking

Please know that we are aware some residents do not have their current sticker yet.  The police will be looking for any age resident sticker on the car.  In the absence of a sticker, they will run your license plate to determine if you are a resident.  New stickers are not available for pick up at this time with Town Hall closed to the public.  

US Post Office

The New Castle Post Office is limiting the number of people allowed in the lobby area to two people.  They have also placed a line on the floor asking that people stay behind that line while interacting with post office personnel.  Please be respectful that people may be waiting outside to enter the building so try to be efficient while in the building.  When waiting outside the building please create a line observing proper social distancing.

Police, Fire and Emergency Management

All departments are providing full services to the Town.  All have implemented established staffing, coverage and emergency protocols to assist and respond to public needs.

Department heads have a daily call with a member of the Select Board to discuss any existing issues, emergent concerns and to provide specific input from the prior day’s activities.  

Businesses Operating in New Castle

The Town has been in contact with businesses that operate in New Castle to understand their processes, ensure they are aware of Federal and State guidance, and to help if needed.  

The Governor and State declared Hotels and short-term rentals (Air BNB, Inns etc.) in New Hampshire must suspend all accommodations for non-essential purposes.   The hotels, in accordance with State guidance, are conducting specific and direct screening of individuals prior to accepting any (essential) reservations.  When the person arrives, they are conducting a second screening both through questioning and looking for any visible signs of illness.  

Regarding restaurants operating on the island, they are providing take out options only in accordance with State guidance.   

Town Water Infrastructure Project

The Town Water Infrastructure project is slated to begin April 7, 2020 with all the work being done in the Shapleigh and Goat Island areas during the month of April through mid-May.  There will be some minimal disruptions in water supply during the period.  Please watch for signage at Town Hall and on the Website for updates.

      If you have questions or need assistance with something, don’t hesitate to contact Town Hall at 603-431-6710, Police Department at 603-436-3113 or the Fire Department at 603-436-1132.  Of course, if you have any type of emergency contact 911 immediately.

Be Safe and Be Well,

New Castle Select Board