Topics: COVID-19

HARWICH PORT — When large crowds of people came together on the Lower Cape recently to protest the murder of George Floyd, they did more than voice their outrage and solidarity; they heightened the risk of spreading COVID-19. To help control that risk, more than 1,200 people attended a pop-up testing clinic in Harwich Port last week. “We were a bit overwhelmed with the incredible response for testing in our th...

Impact Fund To Contribute As Demand Grows Threefold CHATHAM – In the past three months, the number of people served by the small food pantry at Chatham Elementary School has tripled. Given the demand, the pantry, which usually closes when school ends, will continue providing groceries to local residents through the summer. “We obviously have a desperate need that is not going away,” said Principal Robin Mil...

Harwich Recreation Department Summer Programs On Hold

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH —The town's summer recreation programs are being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recreation Department Director Eric Beebe said the summer playground program and the swimming and tennis programs were being canceled, at least for the beginning of the season. He'll be keeping a close eye on what will be allowed in the third phases of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening of Massachusetts. “There ar...

Business: For New Eateries, Pandemic Debut Is No Picnic

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Opening a restaurant is no easy feat. Even for new local business owners who are taking over the reins of a successful location with a hearty customer base and making it uniquely their own, nothing about the process is simple or effortless.  Now try it in the middle of a global pandemic.  Lynne Hammatt bought the former Sandi’s Diner in March, as the seriousness of COVID-19 was becoming evident. After paint...

Day by day, more retailers are opening their doors to customers as they adjust their operations to meet new COVID-19 safety requirements. As of Monday, retailers who comply with those rules were allowed to welcome customers indoors as part of the second phase of the state’s economic reopening plan. And they’re banking on pent-up demand from customers who’ve missed the experience of in-person shopping. “People ...

Outside Dining Approved For Harwich Restaurants

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Interim Town Administrator Joseph Powers has been directed to lead the town’s efforts to approve individual restaurant requests to expand outdoor dining and liquor service under phase two of the state's re-opening plan. Early actions by town staff, selectmen and Powers led to quick results on Monday with selectmen reaffirming approvals for nine restaurants that the interim town administrator determin...

Harwich Cranberry Festival Events Canceled For The Year

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Given the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harwich Cranberry Festival Committee announced the cancellation of this year's crafts fairs, music and beach day events. “Over the past months the Harwich Cranberry Festival Committee has been simultaneously planning and putting into motion all the things necessary to hold our season’s events while watching the progress and impact of the COVID-19 pa...

The constant flow of information about COVID-19 over the past three months has led local councils on aging to daily changes requiring new ways of living, limiting activities and programs, closing buildings and dispersing staff and volunteers, and leading to readjustments in services and a rethinking of how to get things done. That is now being followed by a slow process of reopening that may continue for months. ...

ORLEANS — Rain is predicted for the morning of Saturday, June 20. So is an outdoor town meeting. That long-range forecast is just one view; another prediction shows a string of rainy days leading up to a cloudy but dry June 20. “If possible, we’ll just postpone it to the next day,” Moderator David Lyttle told selectmen at their pre-town meeting session June 3. “These are remarkable times that call for remarkab...

CHATHAM — When it comes to safely managing the town’s bathing beaches this summer, officials are weighing more than just the public health implications of COVID-19. They have to consider a key source of town revenue and a major driver for the town’s economy. “The number one thing that everybody wants when they come here is the beaches,” said parks and recreation commissioner Kimberly Robbins, who also operates...

Take Me Out To The...Town Meeting

By: Alan Pollock

Annual Session To Be Held At Veterans Field CHATHAM — There won’t be any baseball played on Veterans Field this summer, but on June 22, town officials will be pitching an abbreviated town meeting warrant to a gathering of socially-distanced voters. For safety during COVID-19, the town’s annual legislative session is being held outdoors at 6 p.m. rather than at the middle school. It’s certainly the first tim...

Health Board Expands Outdoor Mask Requirement

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Admitting that it will be very difficult to enforce, the board of health Monday issued an order requiring people to wear face masks at the lighthouse overlook, the fish pier observation deck and the town transfer station in a bid to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The initiative builds on a previous order requiring people to wear masks outdoors along Main Street in downtown Chatham. Public reaction...

Gym Gets Cease And Desist Order

By: Alan Pollock

SOUTH CHATHAM — Having ignored daily fines levied by the town, the owners of BodyStrong Fitness were served with an immediate cease and desist order Monday afternoon for opening despite the governor’s order to remain closed during the pandemic emergency. Delivering the order is “the last step of the procedures that the state has laid out for enforcement,” Health Agent Judith Giorgio told the health board Monda...

CHATHAM — To provide more social distancing room for shoppers, downtown merchants have proposed banning on-street parking and allowing only one-way traffic on Main Street this summer. A new working group has been formed to review and refine the proposal. At last Thursday’s meeting of the board of selectmen, Chatham Chamber of Commerce Executive Director said business leaders have developed a plan for “a safe, ...

Selectmen Give Nod To 2020 Beach Opening Plan

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Recreation Department Director Eric Beeb presented the board of selectmen with a 2020 beach season opening plan that limits some beach parking and reduces the sale of one-day beach passes to two beaches. The board approved the plan by consensus last week. Interim Town Administrator Joseph Powers said the plan takes in the town’s obligation under Gov. Charlie Baker’s first phase of reopening Massachus...

HARWICH PORT — The Port and Ember restaurants will be investigated by the town for alleged violations of a state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission prohibition against selling alcohol for on-premises consumption during the COVID-19 state of emergency. On May 18, when Gov. Charlie Baker issued his Reopening Massachusetts plan and announced the first phase, the ABCC reaffirmed an advisory which stated “all on...