GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll report that the City of Gloucester will reopen public landings and boat ramps effective Tuesday, April 28, following a unanimous vote of the Gloucester Board of Health Monday evening.
“This decision was made after much discussion and consideration regarding the health and safety of all Gloucester residents,” Public Health Director Carroll said. “Even though we are reopening public landings and boat ramps in the city starting on Tuesday, we urge all residents to continue to practice strict social distancing guidelines and limit non-essential activities while Massachusetts remains under a stay-at-home advisory.”
On April 15, the Board of Health initiated an emergency order closing all public landings and boat ramps to all but commercial and emergency vessels. The action was taken until such time as protective measures were developed to prevent the spread of disease and ensure public health and human safety during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
As a result of Monday’s vote, public landings and boat ramps will reopen with the following provisions/protections to be enforced by the Harbormaster and Waterways Board:
- Boat landings and ramps are limited to Massachusetts residents only
- Out of state boats are prohibited
- Only one boat may access and use the boat landings and ramps at one time
- When accessing the boat landings and ramps, all people must maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others, unless they are household contacts, and act in a safe manner
- All designated traffic control lanes that have been put in place must be strictly adhered to
- Only persons from immediate households that share a home may board a vessel together — absolutely no guests
- All vessels must arrive fully prepared to launch
- Before arriving at the boat landings and ramps individuals should already have anything needed safely stowed aboard the vessel (this includes PFDs, sanitizer, wipes, gloves, masks, sunscreen, refreshments, fishing gear, etc.)
- Vessels must leave the boat landings and ramp areas shortly after launching and all vehicles and trailers must be parked in the appropriate place
- There will be no “rafting” with other boats or pulling up onto a beach close to another boat, as that would put all vessel occupants in close proximity with each other, endangering everyone
- Before and after coming into contact with an item someone else may have touched (such as a fuel pump at a gas station or cart while preparing the vessel for launch), individuals must disinfect by washing their hands or using hand sanitizer as soon as possible and follow the existing protocols for gas stations and stores
- Boat ramp attendants must wear a face covering and gloves while on duty
- All attendants must remain behind a barrier and/or maintain a safe physical distance from others
- One float will be used for launching and one float will be used for recovery
- All signs must be followed and strictly adhered to
- Patrons must remain in their vehicles until the boat landings and ramps are clear for use
- Fees will be collected using the drop box and envelopes that are provided. Exact monetary change will be required to use the boat landings and ramps
- Boat landings and ramps may be closed periodically due to limited capacity or indefinitely by order of the Board of Health or the Mayor
- Individuals will be reminded to use common sense and adhere to all safety requirements at all times
The Board of Health reserves its right to take any additional actions, at any time, deemed necessary to protect public health and human safety during the pandemic response. All requirements remain in effect until notice is given, pursuant to the Board of Health’s judgement that the Public Health Emergency no longer exists.