Update (7pm, 3/15/20): Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Sunday that all schools across the state will be closed through April 6, extending beyond what could have been a March 30 re-opening in Wellesley. No on-premise consumption at restaurants until April 6 either.
With so many canceled or postponed events, including cultural, sports and religious activities, the streets of Wellesley are quieter than usual this weekend as people and organizations take action regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). While we did see a smattering of political supporters holding signs outside Town Hall on Saturday to grab attention of those voting via absentee ballot, the number of runners along the Boston Marathon course was way, way down from recent weeks after the race was postponed until September.
Things are getting quieter still as more businesses announce plans to temporarily shut their doors. The latest: Wellesley Books, which will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 29. You can still order online or by phone, as staff will be taking phone orders during the day.
Wellesley Bakery too is closing for 2 weeks.
Others, such as art gallery and framing shop Page Waterman, are maintaining normal hours. However, for customer framing services they request you make an appointment. The March 21 special event, a talk by John Hagen about Frank Weston Benson, has been canceled. “As an art gallery, maintaining a high standard of cleanliness is always a priority. Page Waterman cleans all surfaces multiple times each day. In addition, employees are required to regularly wash their hands throughout each day in-store and are required to stay home if they feel sick and until they provide the necessary documentation that states that they are safe to return to work.”
Some in town are curious about how the town will respond if things become more extreme. “Do you have any ability to find out about the town’s plans for critical infrastructure like supplying water, electricity, sewer, etc?” wrote one Swellesley reader on Sunday morning.
We reached out to town officials, and heard back quickly from Stephanie Hawkinson, Wellesley’s communications and project manager.
“Our infrastructure is not impacted by the Coronavirus situation and will continue to operate as normal,” she wrote. “Our DPW staff continues to maintain water/sewer lines and WMLP continues to maintain electricity 24 hours a day, and internet to our commercial partners, and to respond to emergencies. Those departments are staffed 24/7 and the Town is taking precautionary measures to ensure the health of those employees.”
The town’s plans were put in place before Wellesley was accepted into the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, which largely focuses on climate change.
MassBay moving online
MassBay Community College, which has a campus in Wellesley, has announced that it will use this coming week to transition more courses online. The school, which is on spring break this week, plans to have transitioned many courses to online by the time students return. The school already offers some of its courses online.