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Town notifies Dracut non-essential business to close due to COVID-19

DRACUT -- Town officials are notifying residents and business owners that  Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered that non-essential businesses will need to close by noon on Tuesday, March 24 until April 7 to promote social distancing efforts and to help stop the spread of the virus.

As a result, all non-essential businesses in Dracut are asked to adhere to the governor’s order.

·         For a list of businesses that considered “essential” click here

·         To file an Essential Service Designation Request click here

Gov. Baker has also advised that gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed at this time and restaurants have limited their service to take out and deliveries only.

Based on these guidelines, the following changes will be made:

  • ·         The town elections will be postponed until Monday, June 29.
  • ·         All public meetings are cancelled until further notice. Town officials will continue to address any time sensitive issues as they arise.
  • ·         Town employees will work remotely as much as possible. All municipal buildings in town remain closed to the public until further notice. Residents can conduct most town business online here.
  • ·         The Department of Public Works is operating as normal but with limited staff. Trash and recycling pick-up will continue on a normal schedule.
  • ·         All interest and fees for certain late payments are being waived. The deadlines associated with licensing and permitting have also been temporarily extended or are being dealt with on an individual basis. Accounts that were past due on or before Monday, March 9 will be subject to accrued fees but those fees will cease to accrue until such time the Town deems the emergency over.
  • ·         All Dracut schools are closed until Tuesday, April 7. Families can pick up to-go breakfasts and lunches for students living in their homes. More information about the times and locations for pick up can be found here.
  • ·         All playgrounds and parks are closed to the public, except for those that allow visitor to follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing.
  • The town has declared a local state of emergency and has activated its Emergency Management Team to closely monitor the situation and provide any necessary updates.

By declaring this local Public Health Emergency the town will be able to deploy the resources and personnel necessary to meet the community’s needs throughout the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The declaration will additionally authorize town officials to issue additional directives to the public as the situation develops. It also creates a formal mechanism for the town to be reimbursed by the federal government for its emergency response.

"Even with the changes, business has been continuing on as normal as possible," Interim Town Manager Ann Vandal said. "Thank you to the entire Dracut community and staff for your cooperation and patience during this time. Please keep an eye on your neighbors and others that may require assistance during this difficult time. We will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available."

All residents are encouraged to continue to practice social distancing — maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from other people — and appropriate personal hygiene.

The Dracut Emergency Team, consisting of the Board of Selectmen Chairman, Town Manager, Fire, Police, Board of Health and other town officials, are meeting regularly to asses the situation and determine next steps.

More information can be found on the town website here and will be shared on Dracut social media platforms.

The COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and new information and guidelines are being posted by the CDC on a regular basis. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads

If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not go to work or school and are advised to contact their primary care physician. According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends that residents continue with good hygiene practices including:

·         Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.

·         Keep your hands away from your face.

·         Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.

·         Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.

For more information, visit the DPH website by clicking here and the CDC’s website by clicking here. Information will be posted on the town's website and social media pages.

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