GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll are urging residents to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 as the community reaches a high risk designation for the disease.
According to the public health data released on Thursday, Dec. 10, the City’s designation has been elevated to “Red,” indicating a “high risk” of spread in the community. The average daily incidence rate for the City of of Gloucester is 39.23 per 100,000 residents, up from 21.4 last week.
There are currently 116 active cases of COVID-19 in the community. There have been a total of 749 cases in Gloucester since the start of the pandemic.
Residents are strongly encouraged to avoid high risk activities, especially indoor social gatherings, and all Massachusetts residents are under orders from the Governor to wear masks at all times while in public.
“Statewide, we’re seeing a significant rise in cases of COVID-19, and across the Commonwealth we’re stepping back to step one of phase three of the reopening plan this weekend,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “These changes reflect a serious need for everyone to do their part. We know small gatherings are playing a huge role in this rise in case numbers. Please, do what you can to limit interactions with those outside your household.”
“We’re seeing increased cases of household transmission of COVID-19, which is when a member of a household becomes infected with the virus and brings it home, infecting those they live with and anyone else they’re seeing socially,” Carroll said. “We need people to wear masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing to prevent bringing COVID-19 home and spreading it to those you live with, and we need people who do have COVID-19 in their households to follow instructions from local health officials and the CDC to prevent themselves from getting sick until that person is no longer contagious.”
Beginning Sunday, Dec. 13, all communities in Massachusetts will revert back to Phase 3, Step 1 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase approach for reopening.
As a part of Phase 3, Step 1, Gloucester will once again follow the below protocols:
- Outdoor performance venue capacity will remain at 25% with a max of 50 people
- Indoor theaters and performance venues must remain closed
- Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will be limited to 50 people
- Hosts of outdoor gatherings of greater than 25 people will be required to provide advance notice of the gathering their local board of health
- Indoor recreation businesses with high-risk activities such as trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks and laser tag must remain closed
- Gyms, museums, libraries, offices, driving/flight schools, retails establishments, indoor/outdoor recreational businesses and places of worship must keep their capacity at 40%
The following guidelines will be put in place for restaurants and other venues with seated dining:
- Patrons are required to wear a mask at all times except when eating and drinking
- Restaurants must seat no more than six people per table
- Restaurants must impose a 90-minute time limit on tables
- Musical performances at restaurants will no longer be permitted
- Food court seating must be closed in malls
Additional COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health include:
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others, is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands
- Wear a mask in indoor and outdoor spaces at all times.
- Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
For the latest updates regarding the status of the virus in Gloucester, visit the City’s website by clicking here.