We hope you find this new format for COVID-19 updates useful. We intend to continue providing newsflash style updates like this weekly or more frequently as required. Additionally we are publishing a new data dashboard with current case numbers updated once per day. A new dashboard with daily data updates will be published in Acton's Covid-19 Information Center: http://www.actonma.gov/covid19
It has been reported to Acton Public Health that at this time there are 389 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in Acton with 60 individuals in isolation, 307 recovered and 22 fatalities (many of these at congregate care facilities). Above is a chart showing the cumulative number of cases in Acton in blue and the daily trend in current cases in red. The chart below shows the daily trend in current cases as red bars.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Statewide Rollback to Phase Three, Step One, Additional Restrictions Effective December 13th
Governor Baker Announces New Restrictions Statewide for Capacity, Mask Compliance and Distancing Due to Increased Cases, Hospitalizations
Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that effective Sunday, December 13th, all communities in Massachusetts will return to Step 1 of Phase 3, of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. This will reduce indoor capacities across a broad range of sectors of the economy and tighten several other workplace restrictions. The Administration announced the roll-back to respond to an increase in new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations since the Thanksgiving holiday that is straining the health care system in Massachusetts.
The return to Step 1 will also require the closure of certain businesses designated as Step 2 industries. These include indoor performance venues and certain high-contact indoor recreational businesses. In addition, capacity limits will be reduced to 40% statewide for most industries, and the limit on outdoor gatherings will be reduced statewide from 100 persons to 50 persons. Additional safety measures will be applied to restaurant dining as well.
These new measures are designed to prevent infection and viral spread, especially in indoor settings. They will create stronger mask compliance, more social distancing, and limits to the time spent with people outside of your immediate household.
The Administration also announced additional guidance for certain sectors including restaurants, office spaces and gyms, to address activities where mask wearing is not possible at all times.
Phase III, Step I:
Effective December 13, all communities will roll back to Phase 3, Step 1 of Massachusetts’ re-opening plan, including the following restrictions:
- Outdoor gatherings at event venues will be limited to no more than 50 people
- Hosts of outdoor gatherings of greater than 25 people will be required to provide advance notice of the gathering their local board of health
- Indoor theaters and performance venues and higher contact indoor recreation businesses will be required to close to the public
- Outdoor theaters and performance venues will be limited to 25% capacity, and no more than 50 people
In all communities, capacity will be reduced from 50% to 40% for the following sectors:
- Arcades/Indoor and Outdoor Recreational Businesses
- Driving and Flight Schools
- Gyms/Health Clubs
- Places of Worship
- Lodging (common areas)
- Golf facilities
- Movie Theaters (Maximum 50 people per theater)
This new capacity limit will not apply to sectors that do not currently have a percentage-based capacity limit, including restaurants, laboratories and close contact personal services. Click here to read the revised gatherings order
. Click here to read the order rolling Massachusetts back to Phase III, Step 1
. Restaurants and Venues
The Administration also announced new guidelines for restaurants and other venues with seated dining, including:
- Patrons must wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking
- Restaurants must seat no more than six patrons per table
- Restaurants must impose a 90-minute time limit on tables
- Musical performances at restaurants will no longer be permitted
- Food court seating must be closed in malls
Customers are encouraged to dine only with members of the same household. Offices and Gyms
The Administration announced new guidelines for workplaces and gyms, including:
- In offices, employees must wear masks at their place of work when not in their own workspace and alone
- Employers are encouraged to close or limit the use of break rooms
- Patrons must wear masks at all times in gyms
The Administration continues to encourage all employers to offer teleworking to their employees when possible.
Town of Acton Designated as "Medium Risk" Community
According to the statewide public health data released from MassDPH on Dec. 1, the Town’s designation is still “yellow,” indicating a “medium risk” in the community.
According to the state data, Acton's average daily incidence rate, which the state uses to calculate risk determinations, has risen to 19.9 per 100,000 residents.
As cases continue to rise not just in our community, but throughout the entire state, it is vital that we all take the necessary precautions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. This includes following CDC guidance regarding celebrating holidays this year. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation, working together toward a common goal is essential for stopping the spread of this disease in our town.
Residents are urged to continue to practice social distancing, wear face coverings in public and limit their interactions with anyone who lives outside of their household.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveling increases one’s potential to be exposed to COVID-19 and of potentially spreading it to others. Staying home and observing the holidays with those in your household or hosting a virtual celebration are the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
COVID-19 prevention tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health include:
- Remember that an infected individual can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, which is why social distancing, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from others, is critical.
- Those who must go out are urged to:
- Avoid gathering in groups
- Maintain 6 feet from people outside your household
- Do not shake hands or hug
- Wash your hands often
- Those who are at a high risk for COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and with underlying health conditions, are advised to stay home and avoid non-essential tasks and errands
- Wear a mask in all public indoor and outdoor spaces. This does not apply to those with underlying health conditions.
- Face coverings should:
- Cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with either ties or ear loops
- Permit breathing without difficulty
- Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage. Face masks should be washed regularly depending on the amount of use.
For more information about COVID-19 prevention and symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides comprehensive information about COVID-19 testing including an updated list of testing locations. More information is available at https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing. An interactive map showing testing locations is also available using the link on the left.
Town Services Hotline (978) 929-6600
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 town meetings, financial relief programs for residents and business owners, and Town reopening plans. The Acton Town Services hotline number is 978-929-6600 and is open on Monday through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Housing Assistance Programs Available for Residents
Applications are being accepted for:
Emergency Rental Assistance and Mortgage Assistance Programs. These programs will provide temporary financial assistance in the form of a grant and will be administered through a collaboration with the Regional Housing Services Office (RHSO). Acton Residents who are at or below 100% of the area median income (AMI), which is $119,000 for a family of four, are eligible to apply. Application assistance such as printing, copying and scanning will be available through the Community Resources Office. Mortgage assistance applicants must be up-to-date with their property taxes and sewer betterment, and must live in single-family homes or condominiums that are owner occupied.
For additional information on these programs or to request application
assistance please visit rhsohousing.org or contact Laura Ducharme by e-mail:
MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)
The Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) is now available to help residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide up to $3,000 in a one-time grant for mortgage relief to eligible Acton residents. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis up until Friday, Dec. 18. For additional information or to request an application, please contact Laura Ducharme at the Community Services Office at (978) 929-6651 or email email@example.com, or contact the Regional Housing Services Office at INFO@RHSOhousing.org
Java with John Program
For the latest COVID information other updates from Acton Town Manager John Mangiaratti and guests tune into the Java with John program Fridays at 10am. View previous episodes using the link shown to the left. This program is produced by the Acton Council on Aging in collaboration with ActonTV. The weekly program is also broadcast live on local FM radio at Acton's station WAEM 94.9 FM.
Make an Appointment for Curbside or Window Service
Due to the increase in COVID cases all Town Hall services are now by appointment only. Appointments can be made to meet at a service window or in the rear Town Hall parking lot for curbside. All town buildings 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 use www.actonma.gov to use the numbers below to contact staff.
Residents may call or email to make an appointment.
- Assessor’s Office: 978-929-6621, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Collector’s Office: 978-929-6622, email@example.com
- Town Clerk's Office: 978-929-6620, firstname.lastname@example.org
Land Use Department
In-person customer service by appointment only. Call or email to make an appointment.
Town Manager's Office
- Building Division: 978-929-6633, email@example.com
- Conservation Division: 978-929-6634, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Health Division: 978-929-6632, email@example.com
- Planning Division: 978-929-6631, firstname.lastname@example.org
Town Services Hotline
- 978-929-6611, email@example.com
Library Curbside Service
Due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Acton Memorial Library is temporarily suspending all in-person browsing appointments. The good news is we are able to add more on demand curbside hours this week and next week!
Come to the library during curbside hours and call 978-929-6655, option 2. A library staff member will bring your holds outside.
For further updates on library hours and services, please go to our website at actonmemoriallibrary.org
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.