GLOUCESTER — Chief Edward Conley wishes to share changes being made to Gloucester Police Department’s procedures and enforcement protocols during the COVID-19 emergency.
At this time, the state’s stay-at-home advisory remains in place until at least May 4. Gov. Charlie Baker is strongly urging all residents to practice social distancing (keeping six feet between each other) should they need to leave their home and avoid congregating in groups.
Starting Wednesday, April 15, all individuals going out in public should wear cloth face masks as a precaution in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, per an order issued by Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and the Board of Health.
The order also requires that all individuals visiting communal spaces of residential building complexes with more than one unit must wear a mask, or cover their face with a scarf or piece of cloth.
Information about how to properly remove and make your own face mask can be found on the CDC’s website here.
The following closures and restrictions are in place throughout Gloucester:
- All city playgrounds remain closed to the public.
- The Gloucester Dog Park remains open through walk-in access only. Those who use the dog park are asked to practice social distancing while there. Parking is not allowed at Stage Fort Park.
- Parking at three Gloucester beaches — Wingaersheek Beach, Good Harbor Beach and Niles Beach — is temporarily prohibited. Temporary parking restrictions are in place along nearby roads as well.
- Parking is temporarily prohibited on Dogtown Road
- All non-essential businesses are closed to the public.
- Many restaurants are open for take out and delivery service only.
Special enforcement may occur at closed locations, such as parks and playgrounds, if officers notice an increased number of violations in order to ensure these orders are being followed.
Should anyone be found violating these orders, warnings will be given for any initial violations, as officers’ top priority will be informing violators and requesting their compliance. Continued non-compliance, however, is punishable by citations of up to $300 and possible arrest.
Parking tickets will be issued to those who violate parking restrictions.
Officers will practice social distancing with other members of the department and the public while working, utilizing tools like their cruiser lights and PA system in order to enforce compliance.
“We are taking these steps as a precaution to help protect our officers and the residents of Gloucester, especially as the peak of the pandemic approaches,” Chief Conley said. “These are unique times, and everyone’s cooperation and support has not gone unnoticed. We’re thankful for all who are staying home and practicing social distancing, both of which can make a significant difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve.”
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