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COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES


In our continued efforts to outreach to our residents and local businesses about the ever evolving situation of the coronavirus pandemic, the Town of Easton has established this COVID-19 Information page. The Easton Emergency Management Agency (EEMA), made of numerous town officials and departments including the Easton Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Works, Public Schools, Board of Health and the Town Administrator’s Office, is in regular communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is monitoring the situation closely to provide timely updates as they become necessary. The Town publishes daily COVID-19 confirmed case counts by 6:00 pm each day under "Daily Update" below. 

 
Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important updates and information.  You can sign up for Town Crier emails to receive a weekly email and important notices.  Sign up for Massachusetts COVID-19 text alerts to get up-to-date alerts sent directly to your phone, text COVIDMA to 888-777.  The Town has a dedicated COVID-19 Information Line available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM at (508) 230-0783 or COVID19@easton.ma.us.

Daily Easton COVID-19 Case Update-May 24th:  
We have received confirmation of 1 additional case of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Easton to 255 as of May 24, 2020. To see the daily case report in the State of Massachusetts, click here.

Press Releases:  
Click here for past press releases and additional news and information.

Face Covering Orders:
Effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Order requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition.  To review the order and for guidance, please visit this page.

In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 the Easton Board of Health unanimously voted on April 24, 2020 to order all members of the public wear a facial covering when entering any essential business as defined by Governor Baker's Covid-19 Executive Order.  The order includes but is not limited to restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenient stores, liquor stores and the like.  This order also includes employees who work at essential businesses that are open to the public. Employees must wear a facial covering over their mouth and nose.  This order also applies to common areas and communal spaces of residential and commercial building complexes with greater than one unit.  Click here for the full text of the order and please visit this FAQ page for guidance.

Status of Town Services:  
In keeping with the Governor’s continued emergency actions limiting gatherings and other efforts to maximize social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Town Offices and Frothingham Hall are to remain closed to the public until further notice.  All departments are working remotely and are reachable during regular business hours via telephone, email, or US mail.  Town department contact information and the status of municipal services during the COVID-19 State of Emergency can be accessed here. To review the Town of Easton Interim Inspection Policy during COVID-19 Declared State of Emergency, please click here.  This policy is applicable to all inspectional staff, including the Building Department, Board of Health, Planning, Zoning, Conservation, DPW, Water, and Assessors.  The Town appreciates your continued patience and support as we all do our part together to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Reopening Town of Easton Regulation:
The Board of Health in the Town of Easton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, in accordance with and under the authority of Section 31 of Chapter 111 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth, adopted the REOPENING EASTON DOCUMENT FILING REQUIREMENT REGULATION at a meeting of the Board of Health May 20, 2020.  This Regulation is adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s and the Town of Easton’s Declaration of a State of Emergency and to further implement and supplement the Governor’s May 18, 2020 Reopening Massachusetts plan issued by the Baker-Polito administration on May 18, 2020 in response the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.  This Regulation is intended to protect the health of the general public in the Town of Easton by requiring sectors to file copies of the documents required under the Reopening Massachusetts plan namely, the COVID-19 Control Plan and the Self-Certification Checklists.  The Governor's Reopening Massachusetts plan and guidance documents can be found here https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts .

Select Board Meeting Updates:

May 18, 2020-Presented by Town Administrator Connor Read


May 4, 2020-Presented by Town Administrator Connor Read


April 21, 2020-Presented by Town Administrator Connor Read


April 3, 2020-Presented by Town Administrator Connor Read, Fire Chief Kevin Partridge, and Director of Health & Community Services Kristin Kennedy


Real Estate and Personal Property Bills Due Date Extended from May 1 to June 1:
Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills, originally due May 1, 2020, have had the due date extended to June 1, 2020. The due date for applications for property tax exemptions has also been extended to June 1, 2020. Interest and other penalty for late payment of any excise, tax, betterment assessment, water use, or sewer use, with a due date on or after March 10, 2020, is waived as long as payment is made before June 30, 2020. We encourage online bill payment via https://epay.cityhallsystems.com/selection. Payments can also be made by US mail or can be placed in the dropbox in front of the Town Offices at 136 Elm Street. Cash cannot be accepted at this time. If paying via US mail, please direct to: Town of Easton, Collector’s Office, 136 Elm Street, Easton, MA 02356, or use the envelope and remittance coupon included with your paper bill.

Postponement of Annual Town Meeting to Monday, June 22, 2020
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, the Easton Select Board, pursuant to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 39, Section 9, voted to postpone Annual Town Meeting from its current date and time of Monday, May 18, 2020 to Monday, June 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM in the Oliver Ames High School Auditorium, due to COVID-19. Please note that due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, further postponement is possible, and this website will be updated with any new information.

Postponement of Annual Town Election to Saturday, June 27, 2020 from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM at Oliver Ames High School
In response to the implications on election administration due to COVID-19, the governor, on March 23, 2020, signed into law Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 “An Act granting authority to postpone 2020 municipal elections in the commonwealth and increase voting options in response to the declaration of emergency to respond to COVID-19.” The Select Board voted at their meeting on Friday, April 3rd to postpone the Annual Town Election from Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to Saturday, June 27, 2020. Polling hours will be from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM at Oliver Ames High School. Voters are encouraged to utilize the early vote by mail option that was part of the emergency legislation passed by the state. More information and instructions can be found here: https://www.easton.ma.us/newsdetail_T1_R798.php.

ELECTION Postponed
Election Date* 
Election Hours*  Deadline to
Register to Vote 
Application to
Vote by Mail 
Sample Ballots 
Special State
Precinct 6 Only 
 Tues, June 2nd  7AM - 8PM
Town Offices
 Friday, May 22nd Special State
Election Applicaiton
 
 Sample
Annual Town
Election 
Sat, June 27th   10AM - 4PM
OAHS - Gym
 Wed, June 17th Annual Town
Election Application 
 Sample

 

Easton Public Schools:
On April 21, 2020, Governor Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year, and the closure of all non-emergency childcare programs until June 29, 2020 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Information from the Easton Public Schools can be found on their dedicated COVID-19 Information and Resources webpage.

Closure of Playgrounds and Suspension of Group Play on Fields
Playgrounds have been closed and group play on fields is suspended in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. We understand that this is extremely difficult on these beautiful spring days with no school and no organized sports, for kids and parents alike. Please understand this was not an easy decision for the town to make but it was made in the best interest to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Some studies show there is a possibility that the virus can live for up to 3 days on plastic and steel, two common playground materials. 

In accordance with the Governor Baker’s Orders, athletic and recreational activities that bring participants into close physical contact are prohibited even when involving 10 or fewer people and regardless of where conducted.

We ask that families focus on outside activities such as walking, running, biking and hiking with people living in the same household as alternative options. As always, we appreciate all efforts that our residents are making together to reduce the spread of this disease. We all have a role to play and we thank you for yours.

Closure of Non-Essential Businesses:
On April 28th, Governor Charlie Baker announced the extensions of the non-essential business closures, prohibitions on gatherings, and stay at home advisories to May 18th.  Governor Baker also announced the establishment of a Reopening Advisory Board to develop phased reopening plans for the Commonwealth.  Click here for information.  To review the full text of the order further extending the closing of certain workplaces and the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people, vist this page.

Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Monday, May 4th (extended to May 18th).These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely.

COVID-19 Public Resources Map:
This map shows the location of resources available to the public during COVID-19 pandemic, such as food banks, spiritual health and Project Bread site locations. Please note that this map is not inclusive of all resources, and is only as accurate as the information provided to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Click here to access the MEMA COVID-10 Public Resources Map.

Financial Assistance for Residents and Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Please click here for financial assistance resources.

Local Business Assistance from the Small Business Administration
New loan programs for small business owners and non-profits are available under the CARES Act, including up to $10 million under the Paycheck Protection Program: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options.  Find more information about all of the loan programs here

Suspension of Plastic Bag Ban/Reusable Bags Not Allowed
The Commissioner of Public Health has ordered that customers at grocery stores and pharmacies shall not use reusable checkout bags until further notice.  Suspension of plastic bag ban/reusable bags not allowed.  Please see the March 25, 2020 Pharmacy-Grocery Order for more information.

Nursing Home Family Resource Line
The Nursing Home Family Resource Line is a dedicated phone line to connect family members of nursing home and rest home residents with the information and resources they need. This new phone line provides one central contact for families and community members who have questions about the nursing home or rest home care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Nursing Home Family Resource Line is staffed from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, seven days a week, at 617-660-5399. Staff will field questions on a range of topics and coordinate across state agencies to help provide answers.

Other Helpful Resources:
The Town encourages everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following web sites are recommended for the most updated information:

ECAT will be broadcasting local and state COVID-19 information on Channel 9 Comcast and 22 Verizon Monday - Saturday from 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM and every day from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.  All live meetings will continue to take place on Channel 98 Comcast and 23 Verizon. An archive on COVID-19 community meetings is available at www.eastoncat.org/covid-19.

Questions about Coronavirus?
If you or your family develop symptoms consistent with COVID 19, you should contact your primary care physician to discuss next steps including possible testing. The test must be ordered by a physician.

 If you have specific question you need to ask, the Mass 211 call center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mass 211 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community. It serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources. Always a confidential call, Mass 211 maintains the integrity of the 9-1-1 system saving that vital community resource for life and death emergencies.

Coronavirus: Managing Anxiety and Stress
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.  The CDC website has resources on how to manage anxiety and stress.

Additional resources can be found at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.  Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Social Distancing
As we navigate through this new “normal”, we cannot reiterate how important social distancing is to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Social distancing is the act of limiting human contact and increasing the physical space (approximately 6 feet) between people to help slow the spread of disease.

Social distancing includes the following:
·         Stay 6 feet away from people
·         Cancel mass gatherings
·         Work from home
·         Stay home as much as possible

Why is this so important?
COVID-19 seems to be transmitted by close contact, inhalation of droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face, mouth or nose. Even people who don’t feel sick and have no symptoms can be infected and spread the virus. Distance will help minimize the chance of spreading the virus to others. Please remember that we all have a role in lowering the curve of the number of positive cases moving forward. We are all in this together.

Currently, Governor Baker has several orders in place requiring social distancing. Gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, elementary and secondary schools are closed and all non-essential businesses must cease in person operations. These actions will help, but we ALL must do our part by following the orders and practicing social distancing to the best of our ability:

  • DO NOT gather outside in large groups. It has been observed around town that large groups of adolescents are congregating. Adolescents are also at risk of contracting COVID-19. Even with mild or no symptoms, people can pass the disease to others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.
  • Go outside to exercise but stay 6 feet away from others not in your household.
  • Visit with friends virtually using online apps.
  • Check out electronic resources available at the Easton Ames Free library.
  • Get take out from a local restaurant. To be extra safe, when you get home with your food, take it out of the containers, throw those out, and then wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
  • Museums are offering free online tours.
  • Musicians are livestreaming shows.
PLEASE we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to follow these social distancing recommendations. Even people who don’t feel sick and have no symptoms can be infected and spread the virus.


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