Making adjustments is nothing new for runners training for this fall’s Boston Marathon along the course through Wellesley. One adjustment is finding an alternative to the Wellesley College athletics complex bathroom that had been publicly accessible before the school closed off the campus to outsiders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Another is not counting on public water fountains as thirst quenchers along the Washington Street stretch past Hunnewell Fields.
Wellesley Department of Public Works Director David Cohen said the fountains, including at the Reidy Field baseball diamond next to Whole Foods, were turned off last year due to COVID-19. While the DPW didn’t have any specific guidance on the health risks of allowing fountain use, it couldn’t provide routine disinfection so thought it best to leave them off, Cohen said.
As more has been learned about the virus, the Centers for Disease Control has seen no evidence of COVID being transmitted via water and a low chance of transmission via solid surfaces.
Wellesley’s fountains were cleared to open up again recently and may be turned on soon, though the job hasn’t been at the top of the DPW’s priority list. Cohen said with COVID-19 infection rates creeping back up, the DPW will work with the town’s Health Department on how to proceed with turning the fountains on or off.
“It seemed that most people weren’t interested in using them as things opened up so we didn’t rush to turn them back on this spring,” he said.
In the meantime, runners will need to fill up their hydration packs, stash drinks in advance along the way, and rely on the kindness of volunteers setting up water tables along the way.