Westborough officials issue comprehensive COVID-19 protocol

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Westborough – Town officials issued this statement today to keep residents apprised of measures taken by the town regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

Thank you for your patience as the Town continues to monitor the COVID-19 crisis. Town officials are working closely with our legislative delegation and the Department of Public Health as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation.

While it is important and necessary that the Town continue to provide municipal services, the health and safety of our town employees is of the upmost concern. Therefore, in addition to closing all municipal offices to the public, effective today, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Town has implemented the following policy:

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  • Departments will be staffed on site Monday-Thursday during regular work hours, except that departments typically open until 8pm on Tuesdays will close at 5pm. Departments will not be staffed on site on Fridays.

The Library will continue to operate but the building will not be open to the public. A reduced, alternating schedule will be determined by the Library Director and will be advertised to the community. School department employees continue to operate under the direction of the Superintendent.

  • Department Heads will divide their non-public safety staff into two groups, balanced in terms of level of responsibility and supervision that will work on a rotating schedule. Employee group schedules must be coordinated with building cleaning so that buildings are disinfected between groups of employees.
  • Employees not scheduled to report to work are expected to perform tasks at home as directed by the Department Head. The purpose of this schedule is to separate groups of employees working in each department. Therefore, unless called in by your Department Head, it is required that employees who are scheduled to work from home do not appear at any town office.
  • Employees working on site must practice social distancing. This includes minimizing meetings and/or meeting remotely as you are able.
  • Employees that support essential Board and Committee meetings will be expected to do so, using social distancing and remote access as available.
  • Due to the closure of municipal offices to the public, the undefined term in which activities must be cancelled and the need to limit in-person interactions, the Recreation Department and Youth and Family Services will provide limited services primarily through remote communication. More information can be found below.
  • Benefitted employees will be paid their regular salary during this interim work Non-benefitted employees will be compensated for hours worked and department heads will work with non-benefitted employees to work regular hours.

All non-public safety departments have adjusted operations consistent with the above policy. Departments will continue to be available by phone and email. To view the March 17, 2020 Board of Selectmen’s meeting where department heads presented updates to operations, click here to view the meeting on WestboroughTV.

Specific information on adjustments to department operations is below:

Assessing: The Assessor’s Office will be continuing with their annual cyclical, sales and permit inspections limiting visits to collecting information from property owners at the door and exterior confirming exterior measurements. As always, we appreciate your cooperation as the accurate assessment of all properties in Town relies on the accuracy of our data. Please contact the Assessor’s Office with any questions at 508-366-3010.

Board of Health: This department primarily continues to monitor this public health emergency and remains available to answer questions related to COVID-19. Staff can be reached at 508- 366-3045. Please visit the Department of Public Health’s website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19:https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of- coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.

Building Department: Staff continues to complete inspections as needed. To schedule an inspection please call the main line at 508-366-3015. Permits can also be applied for online here.

Department of Public Works: Customer service representatives for billing/account inquiries and field services will continue to be available by telephone at 508-366-3070 and email to assist customers. Additionally, the Westborough DPW is implementing the following adjustments to their services:

  • In-home routine inspections, repairs, and maintenance are suspended. For final house meter readings, please contact the office at 508-366-3070.
  • In-person permit processing is suspended. Customers are able to drop-off or pick-up documents using an in/out box outside of the main entrance to the DPW office
  • Water service shutoffs on delinquent accounts are suspended until further notice. In fairness to all customers, water meters will continue to record water usage and water bills will continue to be generated and delivered.
  • Operations related to drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment will continue.
  • The DPW reminds customers that wipes, paper towels, facial tissue, and other materials – even those that claim to be “flushable” – are not designed to break down in the wastewater treatment process. Flushing anything but toilet paper down the toilet can cause unsanitary sewer back-ups in a home or neighborhood.
  • The DPW will continue to respond to any public works emergencies (water main breaks, etc.) as normal. Water or sewer emergencies on private properties will be addressed on a case-by-case basis

·         The DPW is not accepting Waste Oil and Antifreeze at this time until further notice.

Finance/Payments: Payments can be made online or placed in the drop box in front of Town Hall. If you have any questions about making a payment or need assistance using the online tool, please contact the Treasurer/Collector’s Office at 508-366-3025.

Fire Department: This public safety department has not made any adjustments to essential services. Currently, all Community Impact Programs have been stopped until further notice. Additionally, the Fire Department will no longer be collecting sharps or prescription medication disposal until further notice. This building has also been closed to the public to protect the health of our first responders.

Library: The library is closed to the public but is offering curbside lending and virtual programming. Please contact the library at 508-366-3050 or visit their website by clicking here.

Planning Department: This department continues to operate and can be contacted at 508-366- 3055 with any questions.

Police Department: This public safety department has not made any adjustments to essential services. Currently, all Community Policing Programs have been stopped until further notice. The public can access services in the lobby only to protect the health of our first responders.

Recreation: The Westborough Recreation Department has postponed or cancelled all events and activities until further notice. Details of specific program information have been emailed directly to participants. Additionally, all playgrounds and tennis courts are closed.

The Department will be creating virtual recreational programming which will be advertised on the department’s Facebook page and through the Recreation Department email list. The department can be contacted through the main line at 508-366-3066.

Schools: All Westborough schools will be closed, per the Governor, until April 7, 2020. Please click here to view the Superintendent’s communication regarding the schools.

Senior Center: The Senior Center will continue to operate essential programs and limited transportation. The staff will also be available by phone to coordinate obtaining groceries or other items for elderly and immunocompromised residents. Please contact the Senior center at 508-366-3000 with any questions.

  • We encourage seniors living in their own homes to consider getting a residential LockBox for emergencies. This will allow EMS personnel to access your home if you call them and you are not able to answer your door. It is safe and secure and the Senior Center Handyman can install it without entering your home.
  • There will be no more out of town Volunteer medical trips until further notice.

We would like to thank the community for the many offers to help seniors during this crisis. We currently have many names and numbers and will be in touch as the need arises. In the meantime, please consider looking in on, call or do an errand for your elderly neighbors and family members. A few minutes of conversation can mean so much!

Town Clerk: Several clerk services are provided on-line by clicking here. The Town Clerk’s Office will provide within 10 days by US mail the following:

  • Birth Certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Dog License

A drop-box is available outside Town Hall for Street List/Census drop off and various town bills or requests. State Nomination Papers may be dropped in the drop-box outside of Town Hall. All papers should be sealed in an envelope and the envelope clearly marked for the Town Clerk with the name/phone number/email/ of the person leaving the papers. You will be contacted as soon as possible. Notary services are not available until further notice. Please call the Town Clerk’s Office if you have question, including questions about Marriage Intentions, at 508-366-3020.

Youth and Family Services: In-person counseling appointments are cancelled until further notice. WYFS staff reached out to all active clients to inform each person of the status of services. The department can still be contacted through the main line at 508-366-3090 for questions.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, THE TOWN HAS TAKEN THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19:

Elections: The Board of Selectmen voted to postpone the election that was previously scheduled for today, Tuesday, March 17th. A new date has not yet been determined.

Town Meeting: The Moderator has stated his intention to postpone the Annual Town Meeting. More information regarding this will be forthcoming.

Building Closures

The Town has determined that all rental use of Town facilities, public-at-large use of the facilities, and evening and community events in our facilities have been canceled, effective immediately and until further notice. In addition, the following guidance is being issued for the related to meetings of public bodies:

All non-essential meetings will be postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future, with updated information to be provided on the Town website. Essential meetings are encouraged to be done remotely. Click here for information on the Governor’s Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law. Click here for the newly adopted Town policy regarding virtual meetings and remote participation during this State of Emergency.

The Westborough Food Pantry plans to alter operations in response to COVID-19. Please contact the food pantry at 508-366-3007 or check their website. If you are able to donate, the food pantry is requesting donations of grocery store gift cards or monetary donations.

We will keep you informed of any additional changes in operation as this rapidly evolving public health situation continues.

Ms. Kristi Williams, Town Manager, Westborough
Ms. Amber Bock, Superintendent of Schools, Westborough
Mr. Steve Baccari, Director of Public Health, Westborough
Chief Patrick Purcell, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Chief Jeffrey Lourie, Police Chief, Westborough
Ms. Kimberly Foster, Assistant Town Manager, Westborough Westborough Board of Selectmen