Wellesley’s annual Art in the Park community event has had its challenges in the past with dicey weather that might drench or blow away someone’s work. But the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge that has driven the event, which would have been held as part of the now at-least postponed Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend, onto Instagram.
From our vantage point near South Natick, we heard the rumbles but no jets were to be seen. Judging from the comments and videos posted on our Facebook page, we were somehow about the only people in town who eluded the flyover.
104th F-15 flyover from Wellesley, MA. Flag and flight direction was total luck! pic.twitter.com/4ANgtY8aix
— Issac Gardiner (@issac_gardiner) May 6, 2020
My plan was simple: swing by Longfellow Pond area to pick up a persimmon tree sapling. The Rotary Club, in partnership with the DPW, had placed 500 Arbor Day saplings in a buckets of water in five locations around town. I knew that one of those locations was the Oakland St. parking lot. So did everybody else. By the time I got there, the tiny trees were long gone, an empty orange bucket the only hint that something cool had already been discovered.
Oh, well. Might as well take a quick lap around the pond, just to see how spring was making out. Here are a few pics of my 0.8 mile walk around the human-made pond, which was created back in 1815 by damming Rosemary Brook.
As we head into the expected surge period for COVID-19, Wellesley residents and businesses continue to adjust. With confirmed Wellesley COVID-19 cases steadily climbing (up to 43 entering the weekend), the practice of mask and glove wearing has started to take hold in town among those out shopping as well as those just walking or running in less crowded areas.
Holiday food shopping has led to full parking lots and long lines at local grocery stores, but praise continues for those working at these retailers as they seek to practice social distancing while moving people along.
The Captain Marden’s crew also is adhering to strict safety measures while providing assistance to customers.
With local fields still closed…
…More people headed to other local open space. But that openness become a bit less so as crowds ventured out in the relatively nice weekend weather at spots such as Longfellow Pond, which had a full parking lot on Saturday afternoon (thanks to reader MT for sharing this photo).
It would have been a nice opening weekend for golf at Wellesley Country Club, but not yet.
Nearby at Babson College, it was the flags that were missing from Kerry Murphy Healey Park
Meanwhile, a twist on a birthday party where revelers needed to keep their distance (thanks to reader BN for sharing).
Our round-up of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Got tips on business openings, closings or whatever, feel free to email us here: [email protected]
Also email us if you’re interested in sponsoring our weekly Wellesley Business Buzz roundup
Fells Market to take a break
Owners Peter and Paul Katsikaris say: “Our small but mighty crew has been working tirelessly to make sure you have what you need during these uncertain times, and we can’t thank them enough for the effort they have put forth to keep food on your table. We have decided to give our staff some well deserved time off [beginning April 12], to recharge, to be safe, and to celebrate their respective holiday at home. We will be back serving the community on Monday, April 20th, we thank you for your understanding and we wish everyone good health, especially through the ‘peak’ of the virus over the next two weeks.”
CPK Market in Linden Square now offering meal kits, beer & wine
CPK Market in Linden Square now has meal kit and pantry items available for curbside pickup. On offer are fresh produce; meats and seafood; milk; beer and wine; and more. Give them a call at (781) 416-3690.
Bank of America going electric
Look for the Bank of America at 372 Washington St., to be installing an electric vehicle charging station soon.
That doesn’t mean commuters using the train across the street at the Wellesley Hills station can charge up at BoA all day, but you can get a little juice while making bank transactions or even if you’re not doing bank business and need a quick charge.
Bank of America is partnering with ultra-fast charging vendor Electrify America on the installation. The companies plan to install about 40 EV charging stations with a total of 140 chargers across 8 states by the end of the year (or at least that was the plan as of the start of this year).
We surveyed Wellesley’s electric charging station scene a couple of years ago, and maybe it’s time for an update. We’re not aware of many additional stations since then, but let us know if you are.
The Wellesley Municipal Light Plant has kicked off a marketing plan to encourage more electric vehicle use in town.
Ready for Easter
Various restaurants in Wellesley or that serve Wellesley are offering Easter feasts. These include Feast & Fettle, Alta Strada (must pre-order by 5pm Thursday) and CrepeBerry. Check out more Wellesley restaurants doing take-out and/or delivery.
Superior Skin Care staying positive
Among the Wellesley businesses forced into a “staycation,” as Svetlana Shnayder puts it, is her Superior Skin Care & Electrolysis shop at 148 Linden St. Superior temporarily closed on March 23 and will stay that way until at least May 4, pending state rules.
For now, Shnayder says she is keeping in touch with clients via email and social media. “My goal is to keep in touch with our clients, keep them positive, give them tips on how to get through this and let them know that we are thinking of them and looking forward to seeing them.”
Facial-at-home kits are available for online order and they can be shipped or dropped off at homes, she says.
And speaking of keeping things positive, Shnayder says her landlord has been great working with her on a payment plan until her shop re-opens.
Wellesley’s number of active reported COVID-19 cases has jumped from 25 over the weekend to 33 as of Tuesday, with a surge across the state expected over the next week or so. Newton was shaken today by reports of 5 COVID-19-related deaths at an assisted living facility called The Falls at Cordingly Dam that sits just across the Wellesley line on Rte. 16.
Be aware that Wellesley has set up a call center to answer residents’ questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19. Town employees are staffing the phones at (781) 239-0256 from 9am-4pm Monday-Friday to answer non-emergency questions about topics such as medical issues, securing food, prescription delivery, financial assistance or just to lend a listening ear.
Gotta hit the dump just right
So, who’s building the app to give residents real-time data on how long it’s going to take to get into the dump? The recycling & disposal facility has put in place new COVID-19-inspired safety measures and has encouraged people to visit during non-peak hours, suggested to be 7-10am weekdays. This photo, shared by Swellesley reader HT, was taken a bit after the peak period on a Tuesday morning…
Feed the Frontline via Anna’s Taqueria
A crowdfunding campaign dubbed Feed The Frontline is designed to give a boost to medical workers as well as Anna’s Taqueria, the restaurant whose food has supplied many a Wellesley event over the years. Organizer Katherine Rooks says, “We’re starting with Boston Medical Center since they’ve recently had to lay off workers, as has Anna’s.
Meals are also being sent to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s and the South End Community Health Center as a result of strong contributions.
Despite temperatures hovering in the 40s, it looked like a beach day at Morses Pond on Saturday based on the line-up of cars along Turner Road. It looked like the October soccer tournament at Elm Bank Reservation as cars lined up to exit the DCR park on the Wellesley/Dover/Natick line. And it looked like people in downtown Wellesley got the CDC message about wearing cloth face coverings to protect themselves from the new coronavirus (I didn’t want to invade the space of strangers to take photos, but feel free to share your mask mugshots here: [email protected]).
Just another Wellesley weekend during the spring of the new coronavirus, as active COVID-19 cases in town stood at 25.
We continued to reach out to businesses, town officials and others to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on related to COVID-19 and beyond. If you’d like to share your experiences or ideas—residents, businesses, town officials & students, we’re talking to you—please shoot us a message: [email protected] After all, we’re trying not to roam around too much, heeding the stay-at-home advisory.
Essentials businesses beyond restaurants—Jarvis Appliance & Holly Cleaners
While we’re rooting along with everyone else that Wellesley restaurants can survive the health crisis on take-out and delivery, we’re also curious about how non-restaurants that have been deemed as providing essential services have been faring. We’ve been reaching out to them regularly, and while some are skittish to say much, others have returned our calls or emails.
We connected with Jarvis Appliance on Rte. 9 in Wellesley, the location from which it has been operating since 1966, to get a sense of how things are going.
Sales Manager Richie Craig says Jarvis is open for business with scaled down hours and staff, but ready to handle customer inquiries by phone, live chat and in person.
“We are asking that anyone coming into the building please make an appointment if possible, although not needed,” he says. “Our showroom is being disinfected multiple times a day and also after any customer visit.” Naturally, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should steer clear, and don’t allow Jarvis service technicians, installers or delivery people into your home.
Wondering what’s in demand? “We are getting lots of calls from people looking to purchase freezers,” Craig says. “Unfortunately we are being told by our distributor that freezers will be out of stock until end of May. We are recommending getting a traditional refrigerator & freezer instead, as this will give you some freezer space and extra refrigerator space and will likely be a more used product when this pandemic is over.”
Looking ahead to nicer weather, Jarvis has all Weber grills on sale, plus free delivery and assembly on any grill over $600. “This gives you an alternative cooking method and gets you out of the house,” Craig notes.
“Being open during this time, we have gotten great feedback from customers thanking us for helping them a little bit during these trying times,” he says.
Separately, we reached out to a handful of dry cleaners in Wellesley, feeling they’ve been one of the less discussed essential service providers. Our guess would be that fewer people have a need for cleaning services in light of many of them not having to dress up as much for work while telecommuting.
Holly Cleaners General Manager Cassie Savalier notes that the Wellesley store is operating under reduced hours: Monday through Saturday from 7am -3pm. “We are taking all precautions necessary to protect our employees and our clients. We are also happy to help any customer temporarily sign up for delivery services if that helps ease the stress of this unprecedented situation,” she says.
Foot traffic is down at retail locations, but “delivery is still going strong. We are seeing a lot of storage items due to the changing seasons, and a lot of bedding,” Savalier says. “Those two departments are up and making up some of the difference for other departments that are slightly lacking right now for obvious reasons.” Holly’s business varies from location to location, with shops still operating as well in Needham and Newton in addition to Wellesley.
Easter Bunny visits
While the Wellesley Recreation Department has scrapped its annual egg hunt, it has negotiated with the Easter Bunny to make some extra special visits.
Registration for this residents-only program starts on April 6 and must be done online. A maximum of 20 homes will be visited on April 11. A $20 donation is requested, and funds will be used to support camp and scholarship programs.
April vacay could vanish
Wellesley already looks like families have cleared out for fabulous April school vacation getaways, but of course that’s not the case.
And in fact, there might not even be an April school break for Wellesley Public Schools. Supt. David Lussier said in his latest memo to the community that: “Based on our current academic calendar, the week of April 20th is designated as the WPS April Vacation. Because of our desire to maintain a continuity of student learning during this time as well as the current stay-at-home advisory, the Administration will be recommending to the School Committee next week that we cancel April Vacation this year. If this is approved, the school year for students would end on Tuesday, June 16th.”
Framingham’s arts center in dire need of funds
Beyond Wellesley, Framingham’s ātac (formerly known as the Amazing Things Art Center) “is facing an immediate and permanent closure if we are unable to cover the loss of revenue from canceled shows and rentals.” We’ve written in the past about Wellesley residents who have performed at the venue, and we’re sure many of you have attended shows there.
A crowdfunding campaign was launched in mid-March with the goal of raising $90K.