Town of Waterville Valley
March 31, 2020
To: All Property Owners, Residents, and Potential Visitors to Waterville Valley:
I am writing as a follow-up to our Facebook post on Saturday, March 28th.
Last Saturday, we provided recommendations (not orders) based on our observations of people’s actions over the previous week. These actions made it appear that many are still not taking the on-going health crisis seriously. We shared our request for people to not travel to Waterville Valley because of large numbers of people here in town - at condos, single-family homes, in the parking lots of trail heads, and along the road to the ski area. Folks may be coming here for the day or they may be here for an extended period of time, we do not know for sure; but the bottom line is that last weekend, and even now, greater numbers of people than normal are here in the Valley.
Due to our small staff size, we are not able to operate effectively for long periods of time when staffing is at reduced levels. We are working on staffing by teams which means manning in all of our departments is half or less than our regular manning. If we have people out sick, we have an even greater reduction in capacity. The more people we have in the community, sick or not, the greater the probability that we will have more sick people here in the future and that more of our staff will also get sick. That is not good for anyone; not good for visitors, not good for the people who live here, and not good for our staff.
We value our all property owners, guests and others here in our community. As a resort community all are critical to the vitality and economic future of our Town. We did not, and do not, intend to offend anyone in any way. If you are taking necessary precautions and acting in a responsible manner, please don’t take our comments personally. We are trying to help people understand that it is currently not safe to travel to a resort area such as Waterville Valley. Infrastructure and staffing for Public Safety and other public services are not set up to operate for extended periods of time with large numbers of sick people in our community. We are seeing attitudes and actions by people around town that show a disregard for the guidance from all levels of government to limit contact and chances for exposure. That means that sometimes we have to address the lowest common denominator to get our point across.
We will work with additional messaging in the coming days and weeks. We are livestreaming information updates each Wednesday at 3PM on the Town YouTube channel with either the Selectmen’s regular meeting or with a Town Hall style information session. We will also be including a newsletter with the upcoming water/sewer bills with information on the virus situation. As new information is transmitted to us, we post it on the Town website, put it on social media platforms, and send it out via email.
Only if people treat everyone (including themselves) as having COVID 19, and keep as isolated as possible, can we lessen the spread of the virus and do our part to stop the pandemic. Traveling into and out of the Valley increases the danger to everyone and must be minimized. That message – blunt as it might be – is what we are trying to get people to understand.
Finally, we all need to treat each other with kindness and respect. Treating each other poorly is only going to increase the burdens we all face during this time. We need to take care of each other and do the right thing. Right now, taking care of each other is staying at home as much as possible and implementing proper social distancing. But we can do those things while smiling, and encouraging each other with a wave and a kind word. Waterville Valley has always had a reputation for being a tight-knit community whose members treat each other as family. Let’s maintain that character as we move through this situation. We are all looking forward to the day when we can return to a semblance of ‘normal’ and begin to enjoy our wonderful community together again.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or you can call our office on Mon-Wed-Fri, 8AM to 4PM at (603) 236-4730.
We hope you remain well.
Mark F. Decoteau
Town of Waterville Valley, NH