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Date: 4/9/2020
Subject: 2nd Update to COVID-19 Social Distancing: Grocery Shopping Statewide and City Taxes
From: Beacon Hill Village



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April 9, 2020

Dear Beacon Hill Village Members,

On March 22, 2020 we issued a written piece on the importance of social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 (click here) in order to prevent overwhelming our healthcare system, thus saving lives. The main document of that piece contained an Appendix with a list of “dos and don’ts” for social distancing. 

 

Earlier this week we sent an email as an update to the list of "dos and don'ts” for social distancing to reflect changes to federal, state and local recommendations and orders (noted in red).  However, in the current environment information is changing rapidly and today we are providing a second update (noted in green).

 

Respectfully,

 

The COVID-19 Response Team – Doug Fitzsimmons, President; Karen Garvin, Vice-President and Chair of the Coordinating and Program Committees; Betsy Peterson, Board Member and Secretary; Joanne Cooper, Chair of the Services Committee; Stephen Roop, Board Member; Barbara Roop, Chair of LWEW Committee; Charley Davidson, Board Member, and Gina Morrison, Executive Director.

 

 

SOME COVID-19 SOCIAL DISTANCING FUNDAMENTALS - March 22, 2020 UPDATED APRIL 6/9, 2020

 

Let’s start with a sound generalization from a local physician to a BHV member: “The whole idea is to keep out of situations where you might meet up with the virus.  So anything out of your control (e.g., not your own home, car, etc.) puts you at risk.”  BHV offers below some fundamentals based on reliable sources. 

1. Everywhere

  • Cover coughs and sneezes.  (COVID-19 is especially transmitted by droplets from sneezing.)
  • Handwash frequently – 20 seconds with hot soapy water.
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Use wipes when available to clean your hands and surfaces others may have touched – handrails, grocery carts, elevator buttons, doorknobs, etc.
  • Keep a 6’ diameter around you except with intimates you know have not been exposed to COVID-19 and, realistically, who knows?

2. At home

  • Stay at home as much as possible.  That is the current CDC guidance for all Massachusetts residents 65 and over, and those of any age with complicating health conditions.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often
  • Physical intimacy is OK with your regular partner so long as you are both sure about COVID-19 exposure.  A new partner may not be a good idea right now.[i]
  • Be sure visitors or delivery people have followed precautions to avoid exposure or, for deliveries, have them ring the bell and leave it at the door. 
  • Limit groups to 10.  But the 6’ diameter guidance still applies.  (Most downtown Boston residents do not have nearly this much space!)
  • Have a “household plan of action” as recommended by CDC for elderly and at-risk Massachusetts residents,” viz.
  • Have at least a 2-week supply of usual prescription and over-the-counter medications, food and other essentials.  BHV continues its food delivery service, while suspending its grocery shopping trips in order to follow the CDC distancing guidelines and recommendations offered by the City of Boston. Information on these services and availability of ordering and delivery of prepared foods, click here
  • Keep a current list of important phone and e-mail contacts, including BHV (617-723-9713 and info@bhvillage.org), your doctor, your pharmacist, family and friends.
  • Keep up with important developments via trustworthy sites.

3.  Away from home

  • CDC now strongly urges a mask outdoors.  This is in addition to all other precautions below.
  • Boston:  between April 6 and May 4, 2020, a curfew, 9 pm-6 am, has been imposed on all non-essential persons and activities (i.e. no pizza pickup after 9 pm)
  • Boston:  between April 6 and May 4, 2020, no outdoor group activities, including group exercise.  Until April 20-21, for those 65+ and/or with underlying health conditions, only absolutely necessary trips outdoors are recommended.
  • Observe the 6’ rule wherever you are.
  • You can shop for groceries and go to the drug store only as neededChoose shopping hours wisely.  Statewide, stores with an authorized capacity exceeding 25 persons are now limited to 40% of their authorized occupancy, which includes both shoppers and personnel.  The stores must keep count to ensure compliance. Where practicable, there must be appropriately signed one-way aisles in to maintain 6’ separations.  Any lines that form outside the store must be managed to maintain the required 6’ separation.  Stores with authorized capacity of 25 or under must work with the Boston Public Health Commission to put in place controls that likewise ensure the required 6’ separation inside and near the store.  Any grocery store offerings online delivery or curbside pickup should encourage customers to utilize these when possible in place of coming to the store.
  • Ensure that any premises you visit have clear and clearly observed additional cleaning routines, offer hand sanitizers, etc.  If they don’t or you can’t confirm, think twice.

4.  What you can’t do

  • Sit down in a restaurant or bar.  All restaurants and bars are closed to on-premises services until at least April 6 May 4.  Many remain open for takeout and delivery.
  • Visit most hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes or assisted living facilities.  Check with any particular facility before trying to visit.
  • Go to any gathering of more than 25 10 in confined indoor or outdoor spaces through April 5 May 4.  This includes gyms and health clubs, religious services.
  • Go to the mall.
  • Most schools, colleges and many facilities like libraries (including all BPL branches) and museums are closed until May 4.
  • Non-essential businesses and organizations are ordered closed until May 4

5.  What you should think at least twice about.

  • Discretionary travel foreign or domestic by whatever means.  US citizens returning from certain locales abroad are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days, others to follow CDC guidance.  The entry of any US citizen into the US may be restricted to return via certain airports equipped with enhanced screening procedures and equipment.  Subject to flight availability, Logan Airport is one of these airports.
  • Public transportation including cabs, Uber and Lyft.  Bring your wipes and keep the 6’ rule.
  • Basically, leaving home if you are over 65 or otherwise at risk.
  • Driving within MA is presently unrestricted and most rest areas are open except food service areas. 
  • Driving into states bordering Massachusetts seems increasingly restricted and may require a 14-day quarantine; the US-Canada border has been closed by joint consent.
  • Those driving into Massachusetts are being urged to self-quarantine for 14 days.

6.  What you may postpone for now



[i] See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/can-i-have-sex-a-guide-to-intimacy-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

 

Barbara and Steve Roop wrote this piece and updated it April 6 and 9, 2020  They are responsible for any errors that have crept in.  They appreciate comments on drafts from other members of BHV’s COVID-19 Response Team.