In an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, the Watertown Library, the Senior Center will be closed and all Recreation Department activities will be cancelled, Town Manager Michael Driscoll announced Friday afternoon. Town Hall will remain open.
Driscoll spoke at a special School Committee meeting held Friday afternoon. This follows Thursday’s announcement that the Watertown Public Schools will be closed through March 27.
While the Senior Center will be closed from Friday, March 13 to the end of March for activities and exercise programs, some senior services will continue. These include the senior shuttle grocery trips, trips to medical appointments, trips for the AARP tax services, SHINE, and case management appointments. For more information call the Senior Center at 617-972-6490 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Watertown Food Pantry will also remain open during normal hours, Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and Thursdays 4-6 p.m., according to Driscoll.
The Library will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14 to Friday, March 27, Driscoll said.
All programs offered by the Watertown Recreation Department will be cancelled through Sunday, March 29, Driscoll said. This also impact field and picnic permits.
The John A. Ryan Skating Arena will be closed from Saturday, March 14 to March 27.
Town Hall will remain open during normal business hours, but Driscoll encouraged residents to use the Town’s website (https://www.watertown-ma.gov/), call or email when trying to contact town offices, when possible.
Boards and committees will continue to have regular meetings, Driscoll added.
The Watertown Emergency Management Team will meet daily, Driscoll said, and more steps could be taken.
“There may be added measures forthcoming,” Driscoll said.
Town Council President Mark Sideris said he was please with how Watertown Town and School officials have handled the Coronavirus sitiuation.
“I want to thank Dr. Galdston, Manager Driscoll and administration,” Sideris said. “As elected official I am comfortable with the approach. I commend them for doing a great job on the fly with something that was unexpected. Watertown’s response is excellent. The community should be happy we are taking this approach.”
He added that on Friday afternoon President Trump declared a national state of emergency which will release $50 billion in funds to help state and local governments respond to the Coronavirus.
Driscoll also asked residents to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, including practicing social distancing (staying 6 feet apart), stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash you hands thoroughly with soap or with sanitizing gel.
The Town will continue to provide Coronavirus updates on its website at: https://www.watertown-ma.gov/965/CORONAVIRUS
Read the Town Manager’s entire statement below:
On March 10th, Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in Massachusetts to support the Commonwealth’s response to the outbreak of Coronavirus. The state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to take certain actions that may be necessary to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
As a follow-up and in accordance with guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and in an effort to balance the ability to continue to provide important services and to protect the health and safety of the residents of Watertown, the Town is taking the following measures at this time. These measures could be extended or shortened as the Town receives additional guidance from the Commonwealth. The Town of Watertown is moving forward with these precautionary measures in an effort to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.
As you are aware, Dr. Deanne Galdston, Superintendent of Schools sent a communication to our community last night informing Watertown Public Schools will close starting this afternoon and through Friday, March 27th (see link https://www.watertown.k12.ma.us/news/what_s_new/coronavirus_updates).
The Watertown Council on Aging/Senior Center is closed for activities and exercise classes today through the end of March. The Senior Shuttle Bus will continue to operate for grocery shopping, and we will continue to serve seniors with appointments for medical transportation, AARP tax services, SHINE counseling, and case management. Walk-in service for Senior Parking Permits is suspended until further notice, but please call the Senior Center for renewal and purchase information. The Watertown Food Pantry will continue to operate on its regular schedule, Tuesdays from 10:00-11:30 AM and Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 PM at 80 Mount Auburn Street.
The Senior Center staff are available to answer your questions and to help connect you to resources you need. Call the Senior Center between 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, at (617) 972-6490 for updates and further information.
The Watertown Free Public Library will be closed starting tomorrow, Saturday March 14th through Friday March 27th .
All programs offered by the Watertown Recreation Department will be cancelled through Sunday, March 29th . Field and picnic permits scheduled from today through March 29th are also cancelled.
The John A. Ryan Arena will be closed starting tomorrow, Saturday March 14th through Friday March 27th Town Hall will remain open during normal business hours for residents to access essential services. We ask that residents utilize online services, or utilize telephone or email to contact offices to the extent possible. Boards and Commissions will continue on a as needed basis. We ask that residents who need to visit Town Hall, practice social distancing (6 feet).
As the Town takes these measures, there may be additional measures forthcoming. Please continue to take the following actions to limit the spread of COVID-19:
• Practice social distancing – when in public spaces try to remain at least 6-feet away from others.
• Stay home if you are sick – and avoid close contact with others.
• Cover your mouth – when you cough or sneeze use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
• Wash your hands – with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel.
The Town of Watertown Emergency Management Team is meeting daily to monitor the developments in the outbreak of the coronavirus. We have used these meetings to keep an organized flow of information and to develop strategies to best respond to the needs of our community. We will continue to update the community through the Watertown Health Department’s web page. https://www.watertown-ma.gov/965/CORONAVIRUS
Within the last hour, President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a National Emergency. The President stated the emergency would open up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. This situation continues to evolve rapidly, and we will continue to keep our Community up-to-date with credible, science-based information and guidance. We recommend the following resources which are updated daily:
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Resource Page: https://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus
Center for Disease Control COVID-19 information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Watertown Health Department Corona virus webpage: https://www.watertown-ma.gov/965/CORONAVIRUS
For additional questions contact: Watertown Health Department at 617-972-6446, your doctor, or clinic. MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at (617) 983-6800.