Chatham News

COVID-19: Towns Bracing For The Worst

By: Alan Pollock

With public health experts saying that the peak number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts is still about two weeks away, local officials say social distancing is more important than ever. The number of confirmed cases in the state and county climbed steadily this week, but Chatham Natural Resources Director Robert Duncanson said it’s not wise to focus on those numbers. “Everybody should probably assume that th...

Concerns Arise About Out Of State Visitors

By: Kat Szmit

As cars with out-of-state plates pop up with more frequency around the Cape, residents are expressing concerns with what they see as an unwillingness to consider the health and safety of those who live and work here year-round. The concerns seem to have been heard by state officials. On Tuesday, the state department of public health issued new guidance mandating that hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, a...

CHATHAM – The need for social isolation is one of the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, cutting off visits from families and friends, often their only social interactions, can be difficult. “It's just very limiting for us all,” said Liberty Commons resident John Shearer. “But it's a sacrifice that a few of us have to make. We're very...

CHATHAM – Chatham Bars Inn, the town's largest private employer, is instituting a “pause in operations” through April 30. While occupancy was “strong” in early March, General Manager Gary Thulander said changes in federal and state travel guidelines had obviously changed things, resulting in the inn closing March 22. Most other area inns are also closed, including the Wayside Inn. The Wequassett Inn and Res...

CHATHAM — Plans are now in place for the long-awaited renovation of the town's trash transfer station and recycling center. But given the financial uncertainties caused by COVID-19, selectmen last week said they'd like to see a scaled-down project rather than the $4.3 million renovation that they pursued earlier. Selectmen heard a brief presentation from DPW Director Tom Temple, who argued that the disposal ar...

CHATHAM – When he decided to take on the job of filling bird feeders as a volunteer at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Jan “JC” Crocker had no idea that it would lead to a multi-media project that would take three years and more than 3,000 hours to complete. The final product brought the refuge's visitors center into the 21st century and earned Crocker national recognition. The National Wildlife Refuge A...

Virus Apparently Claims Retired Episcopal Priest

By: Alan Pollock

Though it could not be confirmed through public health channels, the COVID-19 virus has apparently claimed the life of a retired priest who was affiliated with Christ Church, Harwich Port. According to the Rev. Brian McGurk, rector at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church of Chatham, the Rev. Dr. Richard Ottaway, an Episcopal priest and college professor, died Sunday night at Cape Cod Hospital as as result of COV...

Recognizing that many local residents are hurting because of the closures and other restrictions imposed by the coronavirus emergency, businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations are stepping up to the plate to provide much-needed support and services, ranging from financial donations to supplying families with diapers and other necessities to sewing protective masks for healthcare workers. “This commu...

CHATHAM — Not surprisingly, selectmen this week officially threw their support behind the plan for a new senior center at 1610 Main St. The board recommended that town meeting pass the $8.28 million article, despite the fiscal uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. “The issues with the council on aging are not going to go away after we get through this period of emergency,” Selectman Peter Cocolis s...

CHATHAM — In the short term, new electrical equipment being installed in downtown Chatham aims to help town officials charge their new electric vehicles. But in the longer term, it’s designed to reduce the number and duration of power outages in the downtown area. John Ventura, Eversource Manager of Distribution System Engineering, spoke to selectmen last week to secure permission to install two new transforme...

CHATHAM — Voters at the next annual town meeting will be asked to reserve the town-owned house at 127 Old Harbor Rd., formerly the water department offices, for affordable housing. But it’s not clear whether any specific plan is on the table for doing so. In 1971, a special town meeting voted to accept the property as a gift from the late Marion Nickerson Ellis, with the provision that the property be designat...

March is usually one of the local economy's slowest times of the year, but business and community activities have nearly ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. There's even concern that the impact could reach into the summer season. On Monday downtown Chatham was nearly deserted, with only about half a dozen shops open. Restaurants were closed per order of Governor Charlie Baker, although many were ...