WENHAM— Town Administrator Anthony Ansaldi announces that all Town of Wenham parks, playgrounds, trails and playing fields will be closed.
Effective at noon Friday, April 3, the above-named open spaces will be closed through at least May 4 in order to more thoroughly enforce state mandated social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently under a stay-at-home advisory issued by Governor Charlie Baker, and all non-essential businesses and schools have been closed until at least May 4 as well.
Residents are strongly urged to remain home during this time, and to practice strict social distancing — refraining from group gatherings of more than 10 and maintain a distance of at least six feet between themselves and others at all times.
The Wenham Board of Health has requested the assistance of the Wenham Police Department with informing residents about and subsequently enforcing these measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Non-compliance will be addressed with education and potential fines or court action. Additionally, the Wenham Police Department will be closing the parking lots to these locations, including the Rail Trail and along the street on Route 97 due to concerns for both social distancing and pedestrian safety.
Please note that the Mass Audubon has already closed its properties and it is expected that the Salem Beverly Water Supply Board will close its properties as well.
“This is a serious matter affecting the health and safety of all citizens and we did not take this decision lightly. This is an unprecedented time in our Town’s history requiring unprecedented action,” Town Administrator Ansaldi said.
“Please remember, the greatest threat we face as a community is that the people who are most at-risk of getting seriously ill could overwhelm our health care system if they all fall ill at the same time,” Board of Health Chairman Andrew Ting added. “We must work together to do our best to avoid adding to the surge in cases that threaten to overwhelm the available resources, and this decision is made with the sole goal of ‘flattening the curve’ in mind.”
While the Board of Health recognizes the importance of getting outside for fresh air and exercise, residents are asked to do so in their yards or neighborhoods, and to avoid contact with anyone outside their households when they do go outside.
Wenham Public Health Nurse Maribeth Ting reports that the Town of Wenham currently has five confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as two presumed cases. Nine individuals are currently subject to quarantine, three individuals have been released from quarantine and one individual has recovered from the virus.
“These numbers only reflect those who have been tested and although availability of testing is improving, it is still limited,” Ting said. “The number of cases is likely higher as there are individuals who have no symptoms or only mild symptoms who have not been tested and are not included in the count.”
To reduce the risk of exposure and contracting COVID-19, everyone is strongly advised to follow these steps:
- Stay home when feeling sick.
- Avoid any social gatherings.
- Practice social distancing. Maintain a space of at least 6 feet between yourself and others, and DO NOT shake hands with others, share personal items including toys and balls as well as eating or drinking utensils, hand towels etc.
- If going out in public, stay away from anyone who is sick, and ensure you keep your hands clean and away from your face. Avoid touching any “high-touch” surfaces, e.g., door handles, handrails, etc.
- Wash hands often, rub your lathered hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing, especially before eating, after using the bathroom and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (at least 60% alcohol) when unable to wash hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that you then discard; otherwise, use your elbow to cover nose and mouth..
- Avoid touching your face: eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household disinfectant spray or wipe, including phones, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, toilet flushes, countertops, etc.
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and new information is being posted regularly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DPH.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Town of Wenham — in close coordination with the Town of Hamilton and the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District — closed town offices and facilities to the public on Monday, March 16, and declared a state of emergency on Friday, March 20.
Town officials will continue to share any new information pertaining to COVID-19 in our community. For questions, please contact the Board of Health at 978-468-5520, ext. 4.