GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll would like to remind all residents that social distancing guidelines have been extended through the month of April, per federal and state orders.
Earlier this week, Governor Charlie Baker extended those guidelines as well as the closure of all non-essential businesses and stay-at-home advisory until at least May 4. All Massachusetts schools and non-emergency childcare facilities will also be closed through at least May 4.
On Wednesday, Mayor Romeo Theken announced that Gloucester municipal buildings will remain closed to the public through at least May 4. Anyone wishing to conduct City business is encouraged to do so online or by calling or emailing any City office. A City department/staff directory can be found at here. To view online municipal services, click here.
All residents are advised to avoid nonessential travel and reminded that gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
“It is incredibly important that everyone, unless you are an essential worker, stays home as much as is possible to prevent this virus from continuing to spread,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “Social distancing isn’t easy, and forgoing precious time with friends and family is hard to do. Thank you all for your cooperation and patience– this is a challenging time and your efforts will make a difference for the health and well-being of our community.”
“As residents continue their social distancing efforts, it is important to note that everyone should avoid group activities outdoors involving 10 or more people,” Carroll said. “There shouldn’t be pick-up basketball games, nor should children be playing outside in groups. And for those who are pursuing more individualized activities like walking, running and bicycling, you should be maintaining at least six feet between yourself and anyone who doesn’t live in your household while outside during this time.”
Health Officials Urge Residents to Stay at Home
Public health officials are urging all residents to practice social distancing, remain at least six feet away from others and avoid congregating in groups larger than 10. Regardless of your age, and no matter if you feel sick or not, it is important to follow social distancing guidelines and stay at home away from non-family contacts at this time.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms. Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing.
Gov. Baker recently extended the state’s stay-at-home advisory to further limit person-to-person contact and slow the spread of COVID-19. The advisory outlines self-isolation and social distancing protocols and advises Massachusetts residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and person-to-person contact during this time period, with the exception of essential activities, such as grocery shopping and picking up medication. To read the advisory, click here.
While residents are encouraged to get outside for fresh air, it is unsafe to have groups of people at the playgrounds or playing team and contact sports.
“Being outdoors is good, so take a minute and get outside,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “Let the sun shine on your face. Go for a walk or sit on your porch, but please keep a safe distance from anyone else.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can appear between two and 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone who experiences symptoms and believes they may have the virus is advised to contact their health care provider. For more information from the CDC for those who may have the virus, click here.
Please be mindful of the following steps you can take to help prevent the transmission of any respiratory infection, including COVID-19:
- 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.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, including electronics, door knobs and countertops.
- Avoid sharing food utensils, containers and other personal items.
- Practice “social distancing” by maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
COVID-19 Information Resources
Gloucester officials encourage everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- City website: https://gloucester-ma.gov/
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- Sign up for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Text Message Notification System to receive important updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.