BRIDGEWATER — Town Manager Michael Dutton, Health Agent Eric Badger, Police Chief Christopher Delmonte and Fire Chief Thomas Levy seek to continuously update residents on local preparedness efforts and impacts from the ongoing nationwide novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
On Sunday, March 15 Gov. Charlie Baker announced new guidelines for all Massachusetts residents to promote social distancing and help to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- No gatherings of any kind of more than 25 people at one time, in one place
- All public and private schools in Massachusetts will close on Tuesday, March 17 until at least April 7.
- All bars and restaurants will only be able to serve takeout customers.
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.
Town Buildings and Offices
All town buildings and municipal offices are closed to the public until further notice. Offices will be staffed, however, members of the public may experience longer lead times than normal in the processing of certain requests. Town business should be conducted online or by phone, if possible.
Auto excise payments made before the end of the month will not be subjected to penalty or interest. These payments can be made online or via a drop box located on the Bedford Street side of the Academy Building near the bottom of the ramp. The Treasurer’s office asks that residents DO NOT put cash payments in the drop box.
Town departments have created continuity of operations plans in the case of a department head needing to self-quarantine or testing positive for COVID-19.
Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments
The Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments will respond to emergency calls for service as normal, but will temporarily suspend walk-in, non-emergency services. Residents are asked to contact the police business line at 508-697-6118 and the fire business line at 508-697-0900 or send an e-mail for non-emergencies. As always, in the event of an emergency, residents should dial 911.
Board and Committee Meetings
Town Administration is reviewing the Governor’s Executive Order aimed at providing temporary relief for meetings conducted under the Open Meeting Law that were scheduled to be conducted during the closure, but have since been canceled. The executive order now allows for remote participation for all members of a public body. At this time, the town is in the process of securing public meeting software to conduct online meetings.
MBTA Schedule Changes
Effective today, the MBTA will reduce train and bus services to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Middleborough/Lakeville MBTA line at 85 Burill Ave in Bridgewater will be affected by reduced services immediately. Additional information is available at https://www.mbta.com/covid19.
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater State University President Clark has transitioned all classes to fully online/remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester.
Active Town Closures and Cancellations
All public parks, playgrounds, beaches and facilities, including all public open recreational area and public golf courses, have been closed until further notice as of Sunday, March 15. The Town parks remain open for passive recreation.
While the Bridgewater Senior Center is closed to the public, Meals on Wheels and medical appointment/grocery store transportation services WILL continue.
Public Works, including Water Supply, Water Pollution Control and Roadways, administrative offices are closed to the public.
Prevention and What to do if you Feel Sick
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:
- 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.
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not go to work or school and are advised to contact their primary care physician and/or the Bridgewater Health Department.
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.