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Acton Town News

Posted on: April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Update May 28, 2020 9:30 PM

Acton COVID-19 Update

Current information about the Town of Acton's response to the COVID-19 situation

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

  • It has been reported to Acton Public Health that at this time there are 167 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in Acton with 45 individuals in isolation, 101 recovered and 21 fatalities (many of these at congregate care facilities).  Here is a chart showing the cumulative number of cases in Acton over the last 10 weeks.
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Emergency Rental Assistance Program 

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide temporary rental assistance in the form of a grant and will be administered through a collaboration with the Regional Housing Services Office (RHSO). The application window for the program will open on Monday, June 1.

Local Business Relief Programs

The Board of Selectmen approved two additional measures to help support local businesses:

  1.  COVID-19 Small Business Grant

    The Town of Acton has established the COVID-19 Small Business Grant to assist existing small businesses that have had significant business disruption due to the COVID-19 closures. This competitive grant program will provide up to $4,000 in funds to assist small businesses in Acton cover wages, rent, loss of inventory, and other fixed costs not already paid for by other federal COVID-19 financial assistance or relief programs.  Application will be available starting Monday, June 1 and the initial deadline for complete application is Monday, June 15. Applications received after that day may be considered if funding is available.

  2. Temporary Outdoor Dining and Retail Program.  This program is a temporary change in how regulations are enforced related to outside dining and outside retail.  The purpose of these changes is to give businesses mechanisms to increase dining and retail opportunities as they operate under restricted occupancy rules as part of the Commonwealth’s reopening phases. More details will be provided shortly.

Recreation Updates and Limited Reopening of NARA Park

Elm Street tennis courts will be open by appointment only starting Saturday, May 30. Please contact recreation@actonma.gov to book a time to play.

NARA Park is reopening for limited services.  The following restriction and guidance is in place for those using NARA Park:  NARA’s walking trail is open. The trail is one-way, walking counter-clockwise from the Bathhouse.  The NARA fields, such as the Upper Field and softball field, are open for play within your household. No organizations and leagues are permitted to play, in order to prevent any gatherings large than 10. Those using the space are asked to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face mask or covering when you cannot social distance. The picnic pavilion remains closed, per state guidance for Phase 1 of the reopening plan. No portable toilets will be provided until Board of Health permits.

Construction on the Sports Pavilion scheduled to begin in June. Residents are asked to avoid the area while construction is occurring.

During Phase II, town officials do plan on opening the beach and more amenities within the park. Updates will be shared when information becomes available.

Staff from the Acton Recreation Department are working with the Health Department and town staff to provide a safe summer camp experience at NARA this summer. More information and guidance on this will be shared when it becomes available.

Latest Board of Health Orders

Household Hazardous Waste Day scheduled for June 27, 2020 has been postponed due to safety concerns and to minimize the risk of residents and staff related to COVID-19.  Tentatively, the next date will be Saturday, September 19, 2020.

The Board voted to allow both private and public tennis courts to open in compliance with  https://www.mass.gov/doc/parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-best-practices-5-18-20/download.  Please be patient as both Community Education and Acton Recreation are in the process of complying with these best practices prior to announcing an official opening date. 

The Board of Health voted to amend several existing orders to align with the current multi-phase reopening plan announced by Governor Baker.  Use the following link to view  the amended orders. https://www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6384/2020-5-21-Amendments-to-Existing-Board-of-Health-Orders-Related-to-COVID-19 

Town Election and Special State Election June 2, 2020

The Town Election for all residents and Special State Representative Election for those in Precincts 3, 4 and 5 will be held on June 2. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All six precincts will vote at the RJ Grey Junior High School, 16 Charter Road. Poll workers and voters will be required to follow state safety guidelines, such as maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from each other and wearing a face mask or covering when a social distance cannot be maintained. Voters are encouraged to bring their own pen to mark ballots.

Annual Town Meeting Scheduled for June 29, 2020

The Annual Town own Meeting will be held on Monday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School upper gymnasium (also referred to as the Field House). The total number of warrant articles have been reduced to complete the meeting’s business in one session. The state and local safety guidelines will be in effect including restricted occupancy, masks and social distancing. There will be contactless check-in and a minimum six feet separation between attendees. Article presentations will be limited, distance microphones will be utilized and clickers for voting will not be used. Town officials plan to have article presentations pre-recorded and posted online ahead of the meeting. The Warrant will be posted no later than Monday, June 15 on the town website, and will printed and mailed to residents.

Information Related to Congregate Care Facilities

Acton recently recorded a significant jump in the most recent reporting of COVID-19 cases due to extensive testing at the Life Care Center of Acton. Acton Nursing Director Heather York reports that there have been 63 cases of residents and 21 staff members overall that have tested positive. Twenty residents have recovered from the virus, as of Friday, March 29.  Director York has been in regular communication with management at Life Care Center of Acton, their epidemiologist assigned to their building and the State Department of Health. The Town of Acton is confident that the facility is doing everything it can to manage this dangerous and often unpredictable pandemic. 

Additionally, at the assisted living facility Benchmark at Robbins Brook there are seven staff members and 10 residents with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. All residents are currently quarantined to their rooms and have had no visitors other than staff and outside private care if they have it. Anyone entering the building is assessed for symptoms as they come in. Staff also has to self-identify if they have symptoms and stay home if they are sick.

Governor Baker’s Reopening Plan

Safer at Home Advisory

The Mass Department of Public Health also updated the Stay at Home Advisory, replacing it with a new, “Safer at Home” Advisory. The new Safer at Home Advisory instructs everyone to stay home unless they are headed to a newly opened facility or activity. It also advises those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions to stay home with the exception of trips required for health care, groceries, or that are otherwise absolutely necessary. All residents must continue to wear a face covering in public when social distancing is not possible, and individuals are advised to wash their hands frequently and be vigilant in monitoring for symptoms. Restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect.

Information about Testing Facilities

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides comprehensive information about COVID-19 testing including an updated list of testing locations.  More information is available here.  An interactive map showing testing locations is also available at the following link:  https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=eba3f0395451430b9f631cb095febf13

Emergency Orders Requiring Face Coverings

The Acton Board of Health Emergency Public Health Order of May 5, 2020 requires that face coverings be worn in public.  View the order here: https://actonma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6367/Board-of-Health-Emergency-Public-Health-Order-of-May-5

COVID-19 Emergency Grants for Residents 

  • The Acton Boxborough United Way has announced further details on the COVID-19 Emergency funding now available for Acton and Boxborough residents.  Frequently Asked Questions about the A-B United Way COVID-19 Emergency Grants for Residents. How to Donate to the COVID-19 Impact Fund from Acton-Boxborough United Way

Acton Town Services Hotline 978-929-6619

  • The Acton Town Services Hotline is available to connect residents with a live worker to receive information and answers to their questions about the latest government news, COVID-19, and Town services in general. Hotline workers also help answer questions related to the topics such as elections, town meetings, financial relief programs for residents and business owners, and Town reopening plans. The Acton Town Services hotline number is 978-929-6619 and is open on Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Restaurants Temporarily Allowed to Sell Groceries in Acton

  • The Board of Selectmen and Board of Health approved an emergency order allowing restaurants to sell groceries during the local state of emergency.  This action is one of several small business relief measures being considered.   Additional details will be posted online tomorrow at http://www.actonma.gov/covid19

Town Offices and Facilities 

All town buildings and playgrounds  remain closed to the public while Massachusetts’s State of Emergency is in effect. The closures are being ordered out of an abundance of caution in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and promote social distancing.   Town Hall services are still operational and staff is available during normal hours throughout the work week. Please call 978-929-6619 or use www.actonma.gov to contact staff.

Transfer Station Hours

The Acton Transfer Station will continue operating with the adjusted schedule for the initial reopening. The facility is currently open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first hour (7-8 a.m.) is designated for Seniors (65+). The Transfer Station will also begin to accept payments (checks only) at the office for bulky items by early June. Staff are continuing to look at how to re-introduce some recycling streams such as polystyrene in later phases.

The purchase of Transfer Station and Recycling Facility vehicle stickers are now available online.

For more information on the Transfer Station and Recycling Center, please call 978-929-7742.

View archives of previously posted COVID19 updates:

Acton’s COVID-19 Information Center: http://www.actonma.gov/covid19

Acton's COVID-19 Information Center
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