Brookline Police Announce Emergency Parking Rules, Town Asks Construction Crews to Temporarily Suspend Work
BROOKLINE — The Brookline Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Swannie Jett wish to provide the community with several important updates related to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
Brookline Town Hall will close to the public 5 p.m. today, March 17. Town services and operations will continue, but will be handled remotely via telephone and email. Only emergency-designated town personnel, including those supporting the work of the town’s Emergency Operations Center, will be reporting to work. All other town employees who can do so will work remotely until further notice.
Town Hall can be reached by phone at 617-730-2000. Residents seeking help with public safety emergencies only should call 911.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and has led President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency, Governor Charlie Baker to declare a state of emergency in Massachusetts and the Select Board to adopt a declaration of emergency in Brookline.
“We appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation with our efforts to keep our entire community safe and healthy during this unprecedented event,” Dr. Jett said. “The Town of Brookline has been, and will continue to take all steps necessary in the best interest of its residents, businesses and other stakeholders.”
Emergency Parking Rules in Place
While the Select Board’s town-wide Declaration of Emergency remains active, the following parking rules will be in effect:
The Brookline Police Department WILL NOT be enforcing the following parking regulations during the town’s COVID-19 emergency:
- Two-hour parking zones
- Overnight parking ban
- Parking meters
The following existing or temporary parking regulations and prohibitions WILL be enforced:
- Fire hydrant violations
- Handicap parking violations
- Crosswalk parking violations
- Bus stop violations
- Parking within an intersection
- 15-minute takeout/delivery parking zones
- All other public safety-related violations
Voluntary Construction Suspension
The Town of Brookline has asked that property owners, condominium associations and management companies voluntarily suspend all active construction projects.
“Temporarily suspending all construction work will help to free up town and public safety resources to direct their full attention to mitigating the public health emergency posed by COVID-19,” Town Administrator Mel Kleckner said.
Additional Updates and Information
Brookline COVID-19 Call Center and Email
For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Brookline, please call the state 211 line.
The Town of Brookline has established a call center in order for residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Brookline. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636.
Residents seeking answers to Brookline-specific medical or public health inquiries should continue to contact the Brookline Department of Public Health at 617-730-2000.
Messages left after hours will be returned the next day. Residents can also email their non-medical inquiries to: [email protected].
Remember, in the case of emergencies, please call 911.
“The call center is an essential two-way resource for our community,” Dr. Jett said. “Being able to take calls from residents enables our constituents to ask us questions directly, while also helping us to have a real-time understanding of our community’s needs.”
Prevention and What to do if you Feel Sick
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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:
- Calling your primary care physician before visiting them in person
- Staying home and limiting your contact with others
- Wearing a facemask if you are sick. Masks are not recommended for widespread use by healthy people.
Brookline Public Health 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.
Student Medication Pickup
Families will be allowed to pick up their student’s medicine from PSB schools on Wednesday, March 18 from 9 a.m. to noon. School leaders and nurses will be on-site during this time. If you have medicine to pick-up, please email your school nurse today and call them on their phone number tomorrow prior to your arrival so they can be ready with your student’s medicine. The contact information can be found here.
Free and Reduced Lunch for Brookline Students
During the temporary closure of the Public Schools of Brookline, students who qualify for free or reduced price meals will be offered meals at no cost through the district’s online student ordering system.
Students 18 and under can access grab and go prepared meals at one of four locations — Coolidge Corner School (CCS), Pierce School, Brookline High School and Baker School — three days per week.
See the table below to determine when and where you should pick up meals, beginning the week of March 16:
All school buildings providing lunches during the period that the district is closed will undergo rigorous cleaning and disinfecting on a regular basis.
Families that qualify for free or reduced meals can use publicschoolsofbrooklineschoolnutrition.com to place orders ahead of time through the Out of School Ordering System. The website also has step-by-step instructions on how to place an order online.
Brookline Food Pantry
Families who take part in the Brookline Food Pantry’s Brookline Thrives program should be aware of the following:
- Brookline Thrives bags will be available at Brookline Food Pantry locations during their operating hours.
- In addition, Thrives bags will be available for pick-up on Fridays from 3-5 p.m. in the Community Room at 226 High St. Just ask a Pantry volunteer for a Thrives bag at the entrance.
- To promote social distancing, the Food Pantry has announced changes to their normal procedures (shoppers wait outside while volunteers prepare bags to hand to them at the door).
- Complete details about the Food Pantry are available here and specific information about their Brookline Thrives program is available here.
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. on 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.
Restaurants may remain open and continue to offer takeout or delivery only.
Takeout 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.
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.
Businesses are encouraged to review the resources available to support them during the COVID-19 response, which are online here.
Town Buildings and Offices
All town buildings are closed to the public until further notice. Residents with general questions are encouraged to call 617-730-2000, though Town Hall is open on a limited basis through Wednesday, March 18.
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.
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.
- Public Schools of Brookline are closed until at least April 6. All after-school activities and school-sponsored events are cancelled until further notice.
- 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 until at least April 6.