Victory Field Stadium, Spray Areas Opening in Watertown

The spray pad at Fillippello Park reopened from the COVID-19 shutdown on July 11. The turf area at Victory Field and the spray pads in two Watertown parks, two of the last Recreation facilities to remain closed during the pandemic, will reopen on Saturday, July 11. Town Manager Michael Driscoll announced the openings in his latest COVID-19 Update (read the whole update here). The Victory Field Turf, which is located in the football/baseball area of the complex, will will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The spray pads, located at Arsenal and Filippello parks, will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be a limit of eight people at a time on the spray pad at Arsenal Park, according to Driscoll’s update, and 15 at once at the one in Filippello Park

Watertown’s recreational facilities and activities’ rules and regulations will be guided by the Governor’s Phase III reopening plan, which began on July 6th, Driscoll wrote. This includes staying at least six feet apart, and wearing a face covering over the nose and mouth.

Steve Owens Endorsed by Environmental Group, Co-Hosting Virtual Town Hall

Democratic activist and Democratic State Committee member Steve Owens is running for the State Representative seat that Jon Hecht will be leaving. The following announcement was provided by the Steve Owens for State Representative Campaign:

Candidate for State Representative of the 29th Middlesex District Steve Owens has been endorsed by both the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund and 350 Mass Action. Primary day is September 1st. “I am honored to be endorsed by the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund and 350 Mass Action. The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time and I will work relentlessly with them and other environmental activists to pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, create green jobs and leave the next generation a future and world that we can be proud of.”

Heath Director: Watertown Complying With Face Mask Order, Worries About Complacency

Watertown has one of the strictest face covering order, where people must wear them outside at all times or face fines, but the Town has taken an educate-first approach to enforcement. The state has a face covering requirement as one of the measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, and it requires people to wear something that covers their nose and mouth when inside a public space or outside when people cannot be 6 feet or more away from each other. The face coverings ordinance passed by the Watertown Board of Health in April requires face coverings being worn at all times while outside in public spaces such as sidewalks and on the street The ordinance also allows a Health Department employee or Watertown Police officer to issue a fine of up to $300. Watertown Director of Health Larry Ramdin said members of his department have spoken to people who were not wearing their masks, but no fines have been issued. “There has been significant compliance, we have (had) several conversations with those who choose not to wear a face covering,” Ramdin said.

Marijuana Dispensary Application Coming to Town Council Subcommittee

The Town Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning will discussed an application for a proposed marijuana dispensary on Pleasant Street. The meeting will be held online on Tuesday, July 7 at 6 p.m.

Buds Goods & Provisions has applied to put an adult-use marijuana dispensary at 330-350 Pleasant St. It was one of two groups invited to apply for adult-use licenses in Watertown in December, along with an applicant looking at a spot on North Beacon Street. A community meeting was held in January. The application will have to be approved by the State’s Cannabis Control Commission and also the full Town Council.

OP-ED: Legislation Needed to Fight Systematic Racism

The following was written by Progressive Massachusetts and is endorsed by Progressive Watertown:

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, and Rayshard Brooks have served as a tragic reminder of the epidemic that is police brutality in the United States. 

Over the past few weeks (indeed, over the past few years), we keep seeing more and more video examples of how widespread, how dehumanizing, and how fatal police violence is and how disproportionately such violence is used against the Black community. Some say the current wave of protests is a historic turning point; we need to make it one. 

It is important to recognize that the graphic imagery of police brutality is just one of the many violent manifestations of systemic racism and white supremacy. The underfunding of schools in communities of color is a form of violence. The denial of health care access is a form of violence. Exclusionary housing policies are a form of violence.

Burials at Local Cemeteries Spiked During COVID-19 Surge in Massachusetts

Gravestones at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Two of the largest cemeteries in Watertown saw a huge increase in the number of burials during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts. At the Town-operated Ridgelawn Cemetery, the number of burials almost doubled compared to a year ago, according to Jesse Myott, Department of Public Works Director of Administration & Finance. “The last few months we have seen a significant increase in — not to be cold, but — cemetery operations,” Myott told the Town Council last week. “It is nothing like anything that any of our senior staff has ever seen, and we have a number of 10 and 20 year veterans.

Four More Watertown Restaurants Approved for Outdoor Dining

Deluxe Town Diner was one of several Watertown restaurants recently approved to have outdoor seating. Four Watertown restaurants have been allowed to add outdoor dining this week, bringing the number up to 15 that have received the special permission from the Town to expand capacity during the COVID-19 restrictions. The special outdoor seating permission is approved by Town Manager Michael Driscoll, who included the list of restaurants in his most recent COVID-19 Update (click here to view it). Two are located near Watertown Square, one south of the Charles River and one is on the Westside. Halfway Cafe, west of Watertown Square on Main Street has been given permission.

Gov. Approves Opening of Gyms, Museums, Cinemas & More in Phase 3 of COVID Reopening

Gov. Charlie Baker, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Beginning Monday, July 6, gyms, movie theaters and museums will be allowed to reopen as part of Phase 3 of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 reopening plan. Also allowed will be weddings and professional sporting events, but both have significant limitations. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the beginning of Phase 3 Thursday afternoon, and said residents of the state have done a good job slowing the spread of COVID-19. He added that Phase 3 will not start in the City of Boston until Monday, July 13.