Coronavirus Shutdowns Prompt Augusta City Layoffs

By Sambides, Nick, Jr. | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), April 30, 2020 | Go to article overview

Coronavirus Shutdowns Prompt Augusta City Layoffs


Sambides, Nick, Jr., Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


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Despite the announcement of a statewide plan to gradually lift coronavirus restrictions, the City of Augusta will lay off 32 workers by the end of May to balance revenues shortfalls and increases in pandemic-inspired spending, the Kennebec Journal reported.

Some city employees have already been laid off as part of a plan that will include 15 full-time and 17 permanent part-time employees. Most of them work at city facilities that are largely closed due to the pandemic. They include the Augusta Civic Center, where most public events have been canceled, along with Lithgow Public Library and the child care bureau at Buker Community Center.

Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday outlined a gradual plan to lift coronavirus-related restrictions. It does not appear to immediately include the reopening of large venues such as the civic center but could embrace the library and community center. Under her plan, restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people will continue through May, with the threshold increasing to 50 for June, July and August.

[Read the timeline for reopening Maine's economy]

With the pandemic causing the cancellation of 44 civic center events from March to July, the facility anticipates being in debt by $400,000 by the end of June. The total could reach $700,000 by September, center director Earl Kingsbury said last week.

The city will use its general fund to cover the shortfall. When the civic center reopens, its leaders will explore limiting the size of crowds until the public is more comfortable with attending large gatherings. …

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