MERRIMAC — Merrimac officials wish to provide regular updates to the community on the latest information and efforts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Friday, May 29, Merrimac has 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in eight households. A total of 34 positive cases have been reported in Merrimac since the beginning of the pandemic.
Town Meeting and Town Election Information
This year’s Town Meeting will be held on Monday, June 15 outside at the Helen R. Donaghue School, 24 Union St. Ext. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. Should the weather not cooperate, the meeting will be postponed to Tuesday, June 16, and be held at the same time and location.
Those in attendance must maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet between others. Residents over the age of 2 must wear face masks or covering when they cannot maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others. Those under the age of 2 or who are unable to do so due to a medical condition do not need to wear a face mask or covering. More information about face masks and coverings can be found here.
This year’s Town Election will be held on Monday, June 22 at the Dr. Frederick N. Sweetsir School, 104 Church St. Voting will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voters are encouraged to take advantage of the vote by mail option to reduce the potential voter interactions at the polls and potential wait times due to the limited number of voters allowed in the building at one time.
Those voting in person will be asked to wear a face mask or covering. Masks will be provided to those who do not have one.
Booths will be cleaned after each use, including the pens provided at each voting station. Voters may bring their own pens with blue or black if they wish to do so. Hand sanitizer will be provided to each voter after they cast their ballot.
Voters should expect wait times while voting to ensure proper social distance guidelines are followed.
State Reopening Plan
On Monday, May 18, Gov. Baker announced the first stage of the state’s reopening plan. The plan allowed some industries to reopen immediately and others on Monday, May 25. All industries allowed to reopen need to adhere to heavy restrictions.
Public health officials will continue to monitor the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state daily; a certain threshold for the decreased number of cases must be maintained during each phase. Should there be an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, state officials will order the return to the prior phase.
If there are no significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state over the course of at least three weeks, state officials will tentatively move on to the next phase. Information about which businesses will be able to reopen and the restrictions they must follow will be shared as it becomes available.
Business owners who plan on reopening under Gov. Baker’s new order are required to adhere to a new set of standards that will apply universally to all workplaces and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.
Those who wish to reopen their businesses under Phase 1 must abide by the following safety standard protocols set forth by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center for workplaces.
- Everyone inside a workplace establishment, including employees, customers and vendors, must remain six feet apart. Businesses should provide workplace protocols and signage for safe social distancing and wear face coverings.
- All employees should follow basic hygiene recommendations. Frequent hand washing should be practiced and the workplace should conduct regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, etc.
- All employees should be trained in social distancing and hygiene protocols. Anyone found to be sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 SHOULD NOT report to work and plans should be set into place for if illnesses occur.
- Lastly, business shall establish and maintain a cleaning and disinfecting protocol specific to their industry. Cleaning and disinfecting must be performed after a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Before a business reopens, business owners must develop a written control plan outlining how the workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. While the control plans do not need to be submitted for approval, they must be kept on the premise and made available during an inspection or outbreak. The control plan template may be found online here.
In addition to the COVID-19 Control Plan template, businesses must complete and sign a checklist, and display the checklist in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees and visitors.
Industries eligible to reopen as of May 18 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Construction sites
- Manufacturing sites
- Places of worship, where occupancy will be limited to 40% of the building’s maximum permitted capacity.
Industries eligible to reopen as of May 25 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Office spaces, where occupancy will be limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy level or of the organization’s typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020. This excludes Boston offices, which will reopen with the same restrictions on Monday, June 1.
- Hair salons and barber shops
- Car washes
- Pet groomers
- Retail businesses for remote fulfillment and curbside pickup only.
- Outdoor recreational activities and businesses, such as beaches, parks, campgrounds, outdoor gardens, drive-in movie theaters and zoos.
Guidance for Outdoor Recreational Activities and Spaces
Outdoor recreational and open spaces are open to the public as part of Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, and restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of those using the amenities and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The following guidelines must be followed while using any recreation space or facility:
- Visitors over the age of 2 must wear face masks or coverings when they cannot maintain a social distance (at least 6 feet) from others. Those under the age of 2 or are unable to do so due to a medical condition do not need to wear a face mask or covering. More information about face masks and coverings can be found here.
- No groups larger than 10 are allowed to gather. This number includes both instructors and participants for any activity.
Walking, hiking, biking, running and other activities like yoga and tai chi are allowed in parks and other designated areas such as rail trails, multi-use trails and bike paths.
While on trails, walkers and hikers should move aside to leave room for others to pass. Cyclists and runners should alert others when they are approaching so that they can step aside to make room for the biker or runner to pass.
Outdoor classes must have a pre-registration process and participants cannot use any shared equipment, tools or materials. Participants must be at least 6 feet apart from each other and activity stations should be at least 12 feet apart from each other. Classes must be less than 10 people, including any staff or instructors.
After visiting these spaces, visitors should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
Athletic fields and courts can be used for non-contact sports, such as tennis and pickleball, at this time as well.
While playing, users should not share equipment and avoid touching others players’ equipment. Players should either wash or sanitize their hands before and after each game, and clean and wipe down their equipment.
Those waiting to use a section of the field or court should wait outside the field of play or the court’s gate/fence until the previous group has left to ensure proper social distancing.
Players should not participate in any pick-up games, organized games or tournaments at this time.
Additional guidance and directions for outdoor recreational activities can be found here.
Boating Guidelines for Lake Attitash and State Boat Ramp
The state’s boat ramp at Lake Attitash is open to the public. Those boating on the lake are asked to only do so with members of their household, and to practice social distancing and wear a face mask or covering when necessary.
Once the parking lot is full, the ramp will be considered closed until parking spots become available. Any illegally parked cars could be ticketed or may be towed.
Those waiting to place their boat in the water should maintain social distance from those using the boat launch and should not approach the ramp until the previous group has left. Those placing their boat in the water are asked to do so as safely and quickly as possible.
No one is allowed to loiter on the boat launch. Use of the ramp for organized fishing tournaments, derbies or any other type of gathering is prohibited. No one will be allowed to park at the boat launch for any activity other than launching a boat.
All local rules, regulations, laws and Coast Guard requirements still apply.
More information on the restrictions can be found here.