BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Swannie Jett announce that the Town of Brookline has declared a state of emergency and has enacted regulations on businesses to advance social distancing, above and beyond those outlined at the state level. In addition, all town employees not assigned to emergency operations will be working remotely by mid-week.
The Town of Brookline’s website for updates on COVID-19 matters is accessible at www.brooklinema.gov/covid-19.
The Town of Brookline activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 8 a.m. Monday, streamlining the COVID-19 response effort and ensuring the continued delivery of services to residents. The EOC will remain operational until further notice.
“The Town of Brookline is committed to mobilizing all of the resources at its disposal to protect the health and safety of our residents, but it’s incumbent upon all of as individuals to do our part to protect our neighbors by practicing social distancing,” Select Board Chair Bernard Greene said. “It’s critically important that we treat this time as the serious public health emergency that it is, and remember that the time away from work or school is in no way similar to a snow day or a vacation.”
Gov. Charlie Baker announced yesterday that effective Tuesday, March 17, restaurants and bars should open only for delivery or takeout operations through April 7.
The Brookline Select Board, in order to further implement social distancing practices, moved today to order all restaurants and bars in town to cease dine-in operations by 5 p.m. Monday, March 16. Additionally, queues of more than 10 people inside or outside any establishment will be prohibited beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, March 16.
Takeout and delivery patrons are urged to call ahead or place their orders online with restaurants and eateries in order to minimize face-to-face interaction and streamline the pickup process.
The Brookline Police Department and Department of Public Works are coordinating to set aside parking spaces on town streets to facilitate the takeout and delivery process.
To ease the burden these restrictions place on restaurants and eateries, the Town of Brookline has suspended its styrofoam container ban, effective immediately.
In addition, Gov. Baker has ordered that all social gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited, including within retail establishments and other businesses.
The Brookline Department of Economic Development and Long Term Planning is actively working to engage businesses and ensure their needs are met to the fullest extent possible, and minimize the impact of COVID-related regulations.
Town Buildings and Offices
All town buildings — with the exception of Town Hall — are closed to the public until further notice. Town Hall is open on a very limited basis, and residents are asked to call 617-730-2000 prior to visiting at Town Hall.
All town personnel not assigned to roles supporting the EOC will transition to working remotely, and that transition will be completed town-wide no later than Wednesday, March 18. Police, fire and public works employees, with few exceptions, will continue to report to work and serve the community.
“Our COVID-19 task force has been working around the clock to ensure all town departments can fulfill their essential duties while practicing social distancing,” Town Administrator Kleckner said. “I want to thank our residents for their patience as we all grapple with the unique challenges of these circumstances, as well as town employees who are continuing to work and ensure the town continues to function at a high level.”
Active Town Closures/Cancellations
- Town Hall and other town facilities — except parks — are closed to the public, and only emergency personnel will work from their offices or the Emergency Operations Center until further notice. All other town staff who can will work remotely, with the transition to remote work being complete no later than Wednesday, March 18.
- All non-essential board and committee meetings are cancelled through April 30.
- Brookline Public Schools are closed through at least Tuesday, April 7, which is an extension on the district’s earlier announced closure.
- Town playgrounds are closed until further notice
- Council on Aging activities are cancelled through at least March 27.
- The senior center is closed through at least March 27.
- Recreation activities are cancelled through at least March 27.
- The Brookline Public Library is closed through at least March 27.
Prevention and What to do if you Feel Sick
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that seniors and those with chronic health conditions are the most at-risk for serious illness caused by the coronavirus; they urge that those in this vulnerable population take appropriate precautions to mitigate their risk of becoming sick. As has been widely suggested, any person who believes they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their primary care physician.
Reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and respiratory illness, including pneumonia in severe cases.
If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should stay home and they are advised to contact their primary care physician. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure.
If you feel sick, the CDC recommends:
- Call your primary care physician before visiting them in person
- Stay home and limit your contact with others
- Wear a facemask if you are sick. Masks are not recommended for widespread use by healthy people.
The DPH recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.