Gov. Baker Orders Most Day Care to Close During Coronavirus Crisis

Most childcare providers will be closed beginning Monday in an effort to stop the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday. Baker said that most child care providers would be closed, but added the state was also looking to create “a process for opening exempt emergency child care programs,” according to a Boston Globe article. The emergency child care programs will be for families of medical staff, emergency personnel and “others critical to fighting the COVID-19 outbreak,” Baker said. These programs will be the only ones allowed to operate during this state of emergency, Baker added. The state will continue to give childcare providers subsidy payments to help them through the Coronavirus crisis.

Town Cancelling Meetings, Town Hall & DPW Closed to Visitors, Parking Passes Valid

Watertown Town Hall

(CORRECTION: It was incorrectly stated in a previous version of the story that the March 23 School Committee meeting will be cancelled. It will be held remotely.)

The Town of Watertown will not be holding meetings for the next few weeks as a precaution against the Coronavirus, and Town Hall and the Department of Public Works Facility are the latest to close to public visitors. Town Council President Mark Sideris said all meetings through April 6. Town Manager Michael Driscoll also announced that Town Hall and the Department of Public Works will be closed through April 6, and asked residents to call or email if they need to contact town officials. Town Meetings

On Monday, Sideris informed the Town Council that he was cancelling meetings.

Watertown Library Closed for 3 Weeks, Online Services Available

Watertown Free Public Library

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Free Public Library:

The Watertown Free Public Library will be closed to the public from March 14 – April 6 to help minimize the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19.) The Library is currently scheduled to reopen on April 7. This date is subject to change. During the Library’s closure, patrons are encouraged to keep borrowed items at home, even if they are overdue. The Minuteman Library Network (MLN) is extending all due dates until at least mid-April. Fines will be waived while the Library is closed.

Watertown Closing Playgrounds, Fields, Dog Parks as Coronavirus Precaution

The tot lot installed at the 552 Main Street Park is one of the Watertown Recreation facilities that have been closed due to the Coronavirus. The Watertown Recreation Department has closed its facilities around town, including fields, courts, tot lots and dog parks, as a precaution during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Recreation Director Peter Centola sent out the following announcement:

Please be advised that all fields, courts, track, tot lots and dog parks in Watertown are closed immediately due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Please adhere to this request and follow all guidelines by the Watertown Health Department and all governmental agencies. On Friday, the Town announced that all Recreation activities and permits had been cancelled through the end of March.

Mass. Gov. Bans Gatherings, Over 25, Makes Restaurants Take-Out Only & Closes All Schools

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced some sweeping steps to try to control the outbreak of Coronavirus in Massachusetts Sunday evening, including limiting the size of gatherings, allowing restaurants only to serve take out meals and closing all the schools in the state. During the press conference he said there are no plans currently to have residents shelter in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. He did stress that people should only gather in small groups, according to a report on WCVB Channel 5. “These gatherings include all community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions and any similar event or activity that brings together 25 or more people in single room or a single space at the same time. This includes venues like fitness centers, private clubs and theaters,” Baker said.

Watertown’s Winter Parking Ban Lifted Early

The winter parking ban in Watertown has been lifted a few weeks early, due to the mild weather. At Tuesday’s Town Council Meeting, Town Council President Mark Sideris requested that Town officials consider lifting the on-street parking ban due to run through the end of March because of the warm weather, which was forecast to continue. On Friday, Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn announced the suspension of enforcement of the parking ban. He released the following statement:

Police Chief Michael Lawn would like to inform you that Watertown will lift enforcement of the all night parking ban effective Saturday, March 14, 2020. The Department of Public Works, Police Department and Fire Department would like to remind motorists that keeping the streets clear allows for road repairs, street cleaning and easy access for public safety vehicles.

Town Closing Library, Senior Center, Rec Dept Until Late March in Response to Coronavirus

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.

Council Debates How Strong Lights at Filippello Field Should Shine, Who Controls Them

Filippello Park’s two athletic fields, picnic area, playground and more draw lots of visitors. The Town Council heard about the proposed project to add lights to one athletic field at Filippello Park and to replace them on another field, and they debated whether they should have the capability to shine stronger for higher level of competition. Currently, there are lights at the softball field, near the Grove Street side of the East End park, but the soccer field near Arlington Street have no illumination. The plan presented by contractors CDM Smith called for putting new lights up on both fields, with the ones on the Grove Street softball field stronger than those for the Arlington Street Field. At a future meeting, the Town Council will be asked to consider a $900,000 loan order to cover most of the $1.3 million projected cost of the lighting project, which also includes replacing the scoreboard and backstop at the Grove Street Field.