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Middletown Borough Hall to open; parks' playground equipment can be used — with warning in place

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The Middletown Municipal Building — Borough Hall — at 60 W. Emaus St. is reopening to the public as of Friday, June 19.

Residents will be required to wear a mask while in the building unless they have health issues that prevent them from doing so, according to a resolution passed by borough council June 16.

The mask requirement will remain in place until “modified, replaced or lifted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” according to the resolution.

The borough Friday will also be removing orange safety fencing from playground equipment at parks and playgrounds throughout Middletown, borough Manager Ken Klinepeter said during the meeting.

The borough will post a temporary sign at all playground equipment, saying the play equipment is not being sanitized by the borough and that residents use the equipment “at your own risk,” Klinepeter told the Press & Journal in an email.

As Klinepeter noted, the borough has never closed any of its parks to the public throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Residents can also rent the pavilions at borough parks, such as those at Hoffer Park. Only the play equipment had been closed for public use.

The police station at 300 E. Emaus St. is also to reopen to the public, according to Klinepeter. Police will follow the same guidelines as the borough as to allowing people in the station, such as the mask requirement, interim Police Chief Sgt. Dennis Morris told the Press & Journal.

Borough Hall and the police station have been closed to the public since March 17, when council ratified a disaster emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic that Mayor James H. Curry III issued on March 16.

The disaster declaration itself remains in effect until further notice. However, council’s action approving the resolution on June 16 modifies the existing declaration.

Reopening Borough Hall means that starting Friday, residents can again go into the building to pay their electric and trash bill, pay permit fees and such.

Residents can also continue making utility payments using the secure drop box in the parking lot behind Borough Hall, through the mail, or by using a credit card through the borough website.

Water and sewer bills are paid not to the borough but to Suez, the private company that operates Middletown’s water and sewer systems under a 50-year lease.