DEDHAM — In an effort to continue to update Dedham residents on state and local preparedness efforts and impacts related to COVID-19 (commonly referred to as Coronavirus), the Dedham Board of Health offers the following updates:
Governor Baker continues to closely monitor confirmed cases in Massachusetts. Information related to confirmed cases throughout the Commonwealth can be found in the link below, which is updated weekly.
On August 7, 2020, Governor Baker updated the guidelines on Step 1 of Phase 3, and announced a hold on proceeding to Step 2 of Phase 3. The governor also issued an updated advisory to all establishments licensed to serve alcohol.
The governor’s order also reduces the limit on outdoor gatherings from a maximum of 100 people to 50 people in a single space. For smaller spaces, a limit of 25 percent of the area’s legal maximum occupancy — or eight people per 1,000 square feet where no occupancy is recorded — may also apply.
The order adds a provision stating that any indoor or outdoor gathering where participants cannot consistently maintain six feet of physical distance between one another will be in violation of the new rules — no matter the number of participants.
While the order does not set capacity limits on public spaces like parks and beaches, it does apply to programs, celebrations, social outings, and any other events “that draw together groups of people,” even if they do occur in large, unenclosed areas.
There are exceptions for political rallies and religious activities, as well as polling places, schools, hospitals, and government buildings.
The newest order broadens the scope of the rules to apply to a previously unregulated space, private residences.
According to the order, both the indoor and outdoor gathering limits apply to private homes and backyards, which had gone unmentioned in Baker’s previous gathering order in early July.
A newly fineable offense under the revised order is the absence of face coverings. The governor’s previous order deferred to the statewide mandate requiring face coverings in public places where individuals are unable to stay six feet away from others.
The new order makes those rules more exacting. For any gathering of more than 10 people from more than a single household, all individuals over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering, unless they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from doing so. The order further states, the new face covering rule also applies to private homes and backyards, in addition to gatherings in public.
The department continues to support the business community in the various stages of their reopening plan(s). Please visit www.mass.gov/reopening for a complete report and daily updates for Reopening Massachusetts.
Although Town Hall remains closed to the public, the Health Department is staffed and available to address all questions and concerns. We encourage residents and businesses to contact the office at 781-751-9220 with any questions or concerns.
The Board appreciates the continued collaboration with all Town departments in assisting residents and businesses adapt to the new normal.
The Board again wishes to remind the public to properly dispose of gloves and masks at all public locations.
There are 429 confirmed cases of the virus in Dedham as of August 12, 2020. As a result of the recent increase in confirmed cases across the Commonwealth, the Board strongly urges residents to continue to practice social distancing, proper hygiene and the wearing of a face covering.
Residents are encouraged to visit the website, dedhamcovid19.com, for all town updates as the COVID-19 situation develops. Visitors can subscribe via email to receive notifications for new posts.
The Board wishes to thank the Health Department staff for their continued dedication during these unprecedented times.
Stay safe and be kind!
Respectfully submitted by the Board of Health
Leanne Jasset, Chairman
Kathy Reda, Vice-Chairman
Mary Ellard, Member