The Town of Brunswick declared a civil state of emergency Monday night in response to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, ordering all businesses to close except those included in the 29 types of sanctioned “essential businesses.” The order is in effect for seven days, after which it is expected to be renewed.
On Wednesday, Governor Janet Mills issued an executive order closing all nonessential businesses for two weeks across Maine, which has 155 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday. Cumberland County, where Brunswick is located, has 90 confirmed cases.
President Clayton Rose conveyed the news of the emergency proclamations in an email to the Bowdoin community Tuesday. He noted that while Bowdoin is exempt from both orders, the College has “already implemented [a] plan that has all but essential campus staff working remotely.”
Under the plan—the Essential Staffing Only Plan—the College asks the fewest number of employees to come to work who are considered necessary to maintain “the most essential services for the safety and security of students who remain on campus, as well as those needed for essential College operations.” According to Bowdoin’s COVID-19 FAQ, these include employees in Dining Services, Safety and Security and the heating plant. However, which staff members are considered essential is subject to change.
Since his initial email announcing the move to online classes and the requirement that students vacate campus, Rose made assurances that staff would continue to receive pay for their regularly scheduled hours. Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood wrote in an email to the Orient this week that essential hourly staff would be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked on campus.
Andrew Bastone contributed to this report.