Town Administrator Tom Mayo and Assistant Town Administrator Michelle Monsegur provided the following COVID-19 and Town services updates at the June 9, 2020 Board of Selectmen Meeting.
- As we mentioned last week, the Department of Public Health (DPH) recently began reporting both confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and deaths in Massachusetts.
- As of today, DPH is reporting 103,889 cases in Massachusetts, of which 8,404 are in Plymouth County. As of last Wednesday, DPH was reporting 257 COVID-19 cases in Hingham.
- The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19, and the number of COVID-19 deaths across the state continue to decline at this time.
Phase 2 Reopening
- Governor Baker announced over the weekend that Massachusetts moved to Phase 2 of the reopening plan effective yesterday, June 8th. Phase 2 will roll out according to a two-step schedule.
- Under Phase 2 - Step 1, the following enterprises may open their brick-and-mortar premises to employees, customers, and the public, with restrictions:
- Retail stores, including stores in enclosed shopping malls
- Restaurants - outdoor table service only
- Hotels, motels, inns, and other short-term lodging (but no events, functions, or meetings)
- Limited organized youth and adult amateur sports activities and programs - no contact games or scrimmages, and indoor facilities limited to youth programs
- Professional sports practice and training programs - no inter-team games and no public admission
- Personal services involving no close personal contact, such as photography, window washers, individual tutoring, home cleaning, etc.
- Non-athletic instructional classes in arts/education/life skills for youths under 18 years old in groups of fewer than 10
- Driving schools and flight schools
- Outdoor historical spaces (but no functions, gatherings, or guided tours)
- Funeral homes - increased capacity to permit 40% occupancy for one service at a time within the facility
- Warehouses and distribution centers
- Golf facilities, including outdoor driving ranges
- Other outdoor recreational facilities, including pools, playgrounds, spray decks, mini golf, go karts, batting cages, climbing walls, and ropes courses
- Post-secondary/higher ed/vocational-tech/trade/occupational schools for the limited purpose of permitting students to complete a degree, program, or prerequisite for employment
- Day camps including sports and arts camps
- Public libraries
- If public health data reflects continued positive progress, the Governor will announce Step 2 of Phase 2 through a subsequent order. Step 2 will include the following, with restrictions:
- Indoor table service at restaurants
- Close-contact personal services, such as nail care services, massage therapy, personal training services, and tattoo, piercing, and body art services
- Our Restaurant Reopening Working Group -- consisting of staff from the Health, Building, Land Use & Development, Police, and Fire Departments along with Town Counsel -- will continue to work with Hingham food establishments to help them navigate the new Phase 2 requirements and work through the process this Board reviewed tonight to consider requests to add to or expand outdoor seating.
- We are committed to working with and supporting our local businesses during this transition, while ensuring public health and safety standards are met.
- As new opportunities to get out of your house emerge, please continue to frequently wash your hands, practice social distancing, and cover your face when you can’t maintain 6 ft. of distance from others in public.
- Preparations continue for Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, June 20th at 2:00pm (gates will open at 12:30pm) at the Hingham High School multi-purpose field.
- As we’ve stated earlier, we are committed to running this event as safely and efficiently as possible. The check-in process will be contact-free, attendees will be seated 10 ft. apart, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the venue.
- A few people have expressed concern about the heat. While we don’t yet know what the forecast will be for that day, we are encouraging attendees to prepare for Town Meeting like they would for any other outdoor event in June: please wear light, comfortable clothing and bring hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, personal umbrellas for shade, and a water bottle.
- We will set up a cooling station with misters near the restrooms and will have water stations throughout the venue. We are also in the process of securing some tents to cover a section of seating at the back of the field to provide additional shade and protection from the heat.
- Please note that heels are not allowed on the turf field because they can damage it. We recommend wearing closed-toe shoes as the surface can get hot.
- Per the state’s move to Phase 2 yesterday, playgrounds, basketball courts, and street hockey courts in Hingham will reopen this week. The High School’s multi-purpose secured facility, which includes the turf field, is available by permit only at this time.
- Please take precautions when using Hingham’s outdoor recreation and playground facilities. Face coverings or masks must be worn when individuals cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. After visiting playgrounds and public spaces, users should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Last Wednesday, our Recreation Commission and Recreation Department made the very difficult decision to cancel their summer camps and instead proceed with smaller scale summer programs. They issued the following statement:
- “With much consideration, the Recreation Commission has voted to cancel our Preschool, Playground, Teen Xtreme, and Country Club Sports Camps. Hingham Recreation’s Summer Camp is one of the largest municipal summer camps on the South Shore, enrolling 3,000 children and employing 100 high school and college-age young adults. These programs are part of the fabric that tie our Hingham Community together. The decision to cancel camp was not easy!
- The Hingham Recreation Commission’s most important priority is the safety of Hingham’s children and employees. Although the state is allowing camps to operate under the Phase 2 guidelines, it is not feasible for our program to meet each safety protocol.
- We are immediately turning our attention to offering shorter and smaller programs for summer 2020 which we believe are better suited to meet all the State’s safety guidelines. We plan on offering a variety of programs including sports, dance, art, and many more. Stay tuned as we will be rolling out many of these popular programs in the very near future.”
Elder Services Updates
- Elder Services continues to offer fitness and social programs through Zoom, cable TV, and YouTube. In addition to the 11 programs they are currently offering, the Department introduced “Ladies Coffee Hour” on Friday mornings at 10:30am. This is an open program providing a platform for social interaction. Classes require registration by calling the Senior Center at 781-741-1458. Staff are screening messages and returning calls on a rotating schedule.
- Elder Services sent out a pre-recorded phone message last Friday to 4,732 members with information about Town Meeting, the Town Election, and Senior Center updates.
- Elder Services continues to make referrals for services to local organizations for assistance with essential shopping, face masks, and other needs. The Outreach Coordinator is working with a volunteer to send out newsletters and “Welcome” letters to residents who turned 60 during the last three months, with information on available Department services.
- The Department coordinates limited medical transportation for seniors, provided on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on urgent medical care needs. The Senior Center also continues to host a Meals on Wheels program delivering up to 45 prepared meals to seniors in Hingham daily.