Good morning. This is West Newbury Selectman David Archibald. I am calling with several updates regarding the Town’s Covid-19 response.
As of this call, there is 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 in West Newbury. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health now believes that there is community wide Covid-19 transmission in Massachusetts including Essex County. The best way to protect your friends, your family, our community, and our healthcare system from being overwhelmed is by protecting yourself. Please keep 6-10 feet of distance between yourself and others. Stay home, other than doing necessary errands or spending time outdoors while keeping a safe distance. Please do not make unnecessary trips. Social distancing is the best practice right now for slowing down the spread of this disease. Gatherings in indoor or outdoor confined spaces are limited to not more than 10 people. West Newbury playgrounds and basketball courts are closed, but our numerous beautiful trails, open space and parks are open for walking, running, horseback riding and biking.
As of noon Tuesday, March 24, Governor Baker has increased these restrictions to require that all non-essential business and organizations close until April 7. The list of essential businesses and organizations is long and can be found as www.mass.gov/alerts and look for COVID-19 essential services. Last week the West Newbury Board of selectmen declared a local state of emergency to provide additional flexibility to manage this crisis. This declaration, does not supersede the federal and state emergency declarations. The local state of emergency will not impact essential services, which include police, fire, public works, public health, and social services. Trash and recycling collection should continue without interruption. However, in order to protect sanitation workers recycling will not be picked up unless in recycling containers and barrels. Similarly, trash is preferred to be bagged and must be in a barrel.
We know residents are concerned about the upcoming Town Election and Town Meeting. The Governor and legislature are working on bills that would give the Board of selectmen the authority to delay Town Meeting and the Town Election.
Until then, however, do everything you can to stay safe and healthy and, if you can, check on your at-risk neighbors to ensure that they are OK. Further, the Council on Aging is performing a superb job on reaching out to vulnerable seniors who might need assistance with picking up groceries or prescriptions, medical appointment or other services. If they are not receiving these calls, they can sign up by calling the West Newbury Council on Aging at (978) 363-1104. Please visit the town website at www.wnewbury.org for details on any of these issues. Finally, if you think you might be infected, call your primary care doctor first and foremost for recommendations. In a serious emergency dial 911. We will get through this.