May 8, 2020
Greetings, Auburn Residents, Businesses and Community Members:
As we complete the second month of the public health crisis that emerged when the Coronavirus began its relentless attack on communities across Massachusetts, Town Administration continues the battle to curb the spread of Covid-19 and minimize its impacts on our residents and businesses as much as possible. Our employees continue to work, some remotely, to provide essential and important services to the Auburn community. This includes great new on-line web- based library programs for all ages; services to our seniors through the Meals on Wheels Program; implementation of the Our Seniors Matter Program, through which we have contacted almost 5,000 residents aged 60 or over to check on them and link them with resources; and our Auburn CARES program and Hotline (508-832-CARE) through which we will link residents of all ages who are in need of services with the appropriate organizations and assistance. These Covid-19 initiatives are in addition to the ongoing services that our residents need such as permitting, planning, Clerk’s Office functions, Animal Control, public health, DPW, police and fire.
On Wednesday, the Governor’s Order went into effect that requires the use of face coverings in public when social distancing is not possible, and for employees and customers at certain indoor establishments.
On Thursday, Governor Baker allowed public and private golf courses to open under very restrictive guidelines. As a result, the Town opened its Pakachoag Golf Course and will implement and enforce all state requirements for operating golf facilities. We ask that those who golf at our course be respectful of these State regulations and adhere to all guidelines to ensure safe play for all patrons.
Although the school athletic fields are closed to the public, the Town’s fields remain open for passive recreation such as walking and jogging. We have received reports of various large group gatherings and sports teams playing on these fields. Please be reminded that all Governor’s Orders are still in effect with regard to 6 foot social distancing, face coverings, and prohibitions on groups of 10 or more people. We ask you to adhere to these requirements and be respectful of others. We do not want to close our fields to all because of the few that violate the regulations.
Town administration is sad to announce that due to Covid-19 and the many restrictions in place, as well as the public health threats, we have cancelled our Memorial Day events including the parade and the veteran’s luncheon. The Town will still provide approximately 1,000 flags that the American Legion Post will place at the cemetery on memorial day to honor our veterans. Any small ceremonies at the cemetery will be private and will not exceed 10 people. Auburn Cable Television will run various programs on Memorial Day, May 25th, so that we can still honor our veterans, past and present, and thank them for their service and the sacrifices they made for our freedom.
We anticipate a Statewide re-opening plan to be unveiled by the Governor around May 18th and with it we expect a phased re-opening of our economy. Town administration is also developing its re-opening plan to coincide with and complement the Governor’s plan. Our plan will incorporate all safety and health precautions necessary to ensure the safety of our employees and the health and welfare of the residents and businesses on Auburn while providing continuity of municipal services.
The number of Covid-19 positive cases in Auburn this week escalated sharply from 55 last week to 152 this week. These numbers are cumulative since the outbreak and include those Covid positive cases that are now recovered. The sharp increase this week is primarily due to increased testing that took place in a very short period of time at one facility with multiple residents. We anticipate additional increases in reported cases over the next couple of weeks as the level of testing increases, particularly in those long-term care facilities and multi-residential facilities.
We urge residents and essential businesses to continue to take all measures available to curb the spread of Covd-19. Details of these precautionary measures can be found on our website at www.auburnguide.com.
Covid-19 has shattered far too many families globally, nationally and statewide who have lost loved ones. Our hearts go out to those who have succumbed to the virus, as well as to those who have tested positive or whose relatives and friends have tested positive. We continue to channel our hope that those currently affected will soon recover.
We fully recognize and empathize with all of those individuals, families, employers and employees whose daily routines were so suddenly and unexpectedly disrupted, resulting in actions we never anticipated nor imagined we would have to take: quarantines, isolation, social distancing, face coverings, contact tracing. Covid-19 has brought with its rampage a whole new set of vocabulary that has now become part of our daily lives. It has also brought a level of fear, uncertainty and concern that most have never experienced before. Conversely, Covid-19 has also caused us to be grateful for the small things in life, to appreciate our families, friends and neighbors, to enjoy companionship through virtual platforms, and to be thankful for and respect those essential employees who continue to perform their jobs in the face of adversity so that we can continue to procure essential goods and services including food, medical care, social services and other basic needs.
Thank you to all of our public and private essential employees and first responders for your continued commitment. We appreciate the risks you take to keep our community safe and to provide for the critical needs of our citizens. We encourage residents to support the local business community as you can during this pandemic, while adhering to all precautionary measures.
On behalf of Town administration, I want to extend our sincere wishes that you and your families stay safe and healthy during this public health crisis. We will get through this and remain Auburn Strong.
Julie A. Jacobson Town Manager