Swellesley readers are trying to limit their time away from home in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But when they do venture out, they’re telling us they’re none too happy with others.
One reader wrote:
“Hi! I’m a Wellesley resident. I know this has been said before. This is a strange time, but please stay away from everyone but the family you live with. Don’t have play dates. Don’t go see friends. And if you are outside please stay 6 feet away from others. Otherwise later we will all say we should have done better. Someone outside running literally brushed past my young son today. That is not six feet. Please be responsible and safe and healthy so the world can get through this together apart.”
Another sent us this message:
“I thought it might be helpful to post a reminder about social distancing even when in the great outdoors of swellesley. As you know, there are very few cars on the road and it’s quite easy. But here goes…I just got back from my (solo and lonely) run down Livingston Road and was almost run off the road into the grass and dirt twice by bicyclists. There were two separate groups riding three in a pack. Not social distancing themselves and not paying attention in the slightest to me. I was criss-crossing the road in both cases, once to avoid an older couple, the other to avoid a woman and young child coming out of the Guernsey Trail. Need I say more?”
One reader wrote, after this post initially ran, that:
“I dared to venture outdoors for my first walk yesterday. However, I seemed to be the only one observing social distancing. The following are clear examples:
A young jogger brushed by me; two young men on bicycles rode by about one inch away (I was walking on a street without sidewalks); a young girl jogged right past me, about two inches away; and several others approached me to offer their opinions about springtime and the weather,
I flaunted my grey hair and didn’t wear a hat, but it seemed not to make the slightest difference.
Observing the prescribed distance just doesn’t seem the cool thing to do in our town.
We have 8 confirmed cases of covid-19 in Wellesley as of March 21st. Not too many people seem to know, nor to care.
PLEASE MAINTAIN A DISTANCE OF 6 FEET WHEN WALKING OR BICYCLING. OTHERWISE YOU PUT EVERYONE, NOT JUST SENIORS, AT RISK.”
And then there’s the kerfuffle that has broken out online between the Wellesley College students who remain on campus and visitors to the campus, in part related to social distancing.
The college has posted and updated COVID-19 info, and the town of Wellesley passed along this section of that Saturday:
Wellesley College is reminding the community that the campus is closed and has moved to remote learning. All Wellesley College campus buildings and facilities are closed to the public.All athletics facilities—indoor and outdoor, including the track, fields, and tennis courts –are closed. ONLY Wellesley College registered vehicles will be permitted to park in campus parking lots. The College is urging residents to adhere to these restrictions. Residents who walk around Lake Waban may not park anywhere on campus and are asked to be mindful of individual safety and the safety of others by not congregating and by maintaining social distance on the paths around the lake.
While the statement clearly says that the campus is closed to outsiders for now, I suspect some are reading “campus” as applying to the buildings, track, etc., and not necessarily the paths across campus. It does appear the Lake Waban path, owned in part by the college and in part by the Hunnewells, remains open. Though we’ve heard it’s super crowded and with its narrow sections, not so easy to separate from others.
I went for a long run myself on Saturday morning across the town’s trails (not those on Wellesley’s campus), and have to say, more than half of the people I came across really didn’t budge despite my best efforts to move 6 feet away. And the many unleashed dogs definitely broke through the safe zone. On the other hand, several people did duck to the side and wait for me to pass, as I did for others in tight spots.
I’ve long observed that many people (especially in Boston) have a hard enough time walking on the socially accepted side of a sidewalk in non-pandemic circumstances. So maybe this all shouldn’t be surprising. Here’s hoping we can all do better for now, for all of our sakes.