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As COVID cases rise, remember to follow guidance

(Hamilton, MA) – In cooperation with the Hamilton Board of Health and the Hamilton Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Joseph Domelowicz wants to remind Hamilton residents that, as the weather continues to get cooler and more and more activities move indoors, we all need to be vigilant and practice safe, sanitary social distancing measures.

“As predicted by the medical experts, the numbers of active COVID cases in Massachusetts have started to climb as we have moved into the fall,” explained Domelowicz. “That, coupled with moving more and more activities and social events indoors, is creating a situation where people are increasingly exposed. We need to remain vigilant about wearing masks, especially indoors, washing and disinfecting our hands frequently and maintaining at least six feet of distance from people who do not live in our homes.”

It is understandable that, as the pandemic has dragged on and people have become more comfortable with their social interactions, the tendency is to let our guards down and become a little more relaxed with safety protocols. However, that is exactly what can cause small hot spots of activity in a community. Small, well intentioned gatherings such as having a few friends over to watch a football game, meeting for coffee and a danish after church or hosting a small dinner party with just two other couples can result in the spread of the disease.

Domelowicz pointed to recent news stories indicating that the greatest cause of recent increases in COVID-19 cases has been “small gatherings” where safety protocols were not followed, resulting in three or more people testing positive afterward.

“The tendency is for people to go into these events with their masks on and maintaining safe  distance, but after a short time together, people invariably feel more comfortable and let their guards down,” said Domelowicz. “We’re asking people to make sure to maintain the safety precautions that we have all come to know over the last eight months. We’re not saying that people cannot gather in small groups, just asking that especially if you’re inside or if you’re outside and close together, keep your masks on and maintain a safe distance. We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our families and others.”

Residents are encouraged to socialize outside by meeting earlier in the day to take advantage of day light and dressing in layers to keep warm. The Cape Ann region offers many excellent opportunities to engage in outdoor activities, including exploring Bradley Palmer State Park, taking a walk through Appleton Farms and taking a trip to one of the many local beaches. When socializing at home, try to avoid meal times so masks can remain on and consider engaging in yard games or spreading out chairs around a fire pit.

We  also remind residents of Governor Baker’s recent executive order to shelter at-home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily and indoor gatherings should not exceed 10 people.  This means no visitors who do not live with  you.