Mayor Carlo DeMaria took enhanced measures on Tuesday evening to continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, instituting a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew daily until April 20, while also shutting down all construction activity and any unnecessary gatherings outside the home.
The order also suggested wearing masks any time one leaves the home and goes out into the community, including for exercise walks.
On Tuesday morning, Mayor DeMaria said it was a move in conjunction with several other mayors and city managers from across the region in order to do something a little more restrictive than the orders from Gov. Charlie Baker.
“Working with other cities and towns, we’re trying to do something collaborative,” he said. “It’s been an effort with Somerville, Revere, Lynn, Malden, Chelsea and Boston. We’ve been having a daily conversation with the mayors – about seven of us with Mayor Martin Walsh of Boston. We’re coming up with other measures to put in place that go a little deeper than the governor’s orders.
“The next two weeks are going to be critical to the health care system,” he added. “People have been walking around with the virus and spreading it. The more we social distance, the better.”
The order went into effect at 9 p.m. last night, April 7, and will last until 6 a.m. on April 20. Other areas put their orders in place through May 4, but DeMaria said they wanted to do two weeks and then re-assess.
The order was signed by Mayor DeMaria and Health and Human Services Director Jerry Navarro.
The Everett Police Department has been empowered to enforce the restrictions and can issue fines of up to $300 a day.
“I have ordered the Everett Police Department to strictly enforce these guidelines and issue warnings and/or violations to those who are not adhering to the Order can be fined up to $300 a day,” read the order. “I know these measures may seem extreme; however, this virus is extreme. As we grapple with the spread of the coronavirus, the response to mitigate the current pandemic and flatten the curve has to be more vigorous. We must all understand the seriousness of the virus and work with one another as we get through this period of time together.”
The order specifically says:
• A curfew for all non-essential employees to stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., effective Tuesday, April 7 until Monday, April 20.
• All in-person services being provided by the Everett Public Schools will be postponed . This means that homework packets and lunch distribution sites are closed and deliveries of Chromebook will be postponed. Online learning will still be available, and employees will be working remotely to the extent possible.
•Everyone should remain indoors from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
•Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) shall be canceled or postponed at this time;
•Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services or individuals who are undertaking essential tasks, such as picking up pharmaceutical drugs, grocery shopping, or visiting a physician, under which social distancing must be practiced;
•When in public, individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others and must wear masks;
•Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
•Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care;
•Business Closures: An order will also be prepared to close professional services. As taxes are now not due until July, there should be no reason for tax accounting, legal services, or other professional businesses to remain open, with the one possible exception of the real estate closings that are on the verge of completion. Coffee shops and bakeries will only be permitted to do business as either Drive-Thru or Curbside Takeout. Counter businesses will be ordered shut down. Convenience Stores with Keno will be given a choice. Shut down Keno, or be shut down.
•Department of Public Works and the City Facilities Department will only perform essential work;
•All construction in the City is to cease.
Mayor DeMaria on Tuesday morning said it was important to note that it wasn’t a lock-down, and people aren’t required to stay home under lock and key at all times. He said people should get exercise, but be smart about it.
“We’re not telling people that during the day not to go outside in the yard or for a walk, but be careful and wear a mask when you do,” he said. “We have to prevent the stress on our ambulances and hospitals and making sure the doctors, nurses and cleaning crews aren’t getting sick. Over time, we’ll start little by little relaxing the restrictions.”
The order was very strict on shutting down Keno lottery games at local convenience stores – something that has been a problem for several weeks as people gather to play the lottery game. It was also very strict on construction, shutting down all permitted activity except for ongoing work at the Central Fire Station.
“There’s no way to really socially distance yourself on a construction site,” he said. “On Broadway, I saw workers putting down sidewalks and curbing. I saw them working on the curb at Hampshire Street and they were basically on top of each other. It’s not sending a right message to tell everyone else to social distance and contractors and construction continues. People don’t want that anyway. They don’t want workers in front of their home…If a sidewalk doesn’t get poured today, it doesn’t mean it won’t get poured in two weeks.”
The mayor said they continue to work on food insecurity despite shutting down all the meal distribution sites, and he advised people in desperate need to call 3-1-1. Workers throughout the City, including the Police and ISD, have been working to deliver meals and other necessities for several weeks, he said.
“We’ve done a great job in Massachusetts and it’s a credit to the mayors and the governor,” he said. “If people need to go out, they can go for a while, but they should be very cognizant of social distancing. Congregating with other in public and playing ball – all using the same ball – we can’t do that…We’re going to get through this as a nation, as a Commonwealth and as a community. It’s going to happen slowly, but it will happen. Right now, it’s a public health concern for me. After the public health concern, it’s an economic concern.”