Editor’s note: This is the town of Hopkinton’s COVID-19 update for Aug. 19.
COVID-19 Updates and Precautions
August 19 update
While Town Hall and municipal buildings are physically closed to the public, we are open for business. Many transactions can be completed online, and we are available via phone and email to assist during regular business hours. A full town directory can be found here. A box at the front door of Town Hall may be used to drop off correspondence, applications, etc., and they may also be mailed or emailed. As we work on plans to reopen Town Hall and other municipal buildings, we are prioritizing efforts to keep the community safe and help our local businesses reopen.
As of Aug. 19, Hopkinton’s Health Department is reporting 136 total confirmed COVID-19 cases; one of those cases is active, with 122 recoveries and 13 deaths. You can see historical tracking and updates on Hopkinton’s Community Impact Dashboard.
Annual Town Meeting — NEW UPDATE
At their meeting Tuesday night (Aug. 18), the Hopkinton Select Board voted to reschedule Annual Town Meeting to Saturday, Sept. 12, at 9:30 a.m. Details will be forthcoming.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health COVID-19 Weekly Public Health Report — NEW UPDATE
The Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report includes enhanced, more granular information to be updated on a weekly or biweekly basis, including town-by-town case and testing information, cases and deaths in long-term care facilities, updates on nursing facility audit results and more.
Hopkinton Public Library — REMINDER
There has been some confusion after a change in the formatting of holds-available notices. If you receive a notice that your holds are available, you must still contact the library at 508-497-9777, ext. 1, to schedule a pickup time before you come to the library. The new notices are sent out automatically by our system and unfortunately we cannot modify them to include instructions. Please watch our website at hopkintonlibrary.org or contact the library directly for up-to-date information on curbside pickup procedures.
The Children’s “quick picks” service has been expanded to include chapter books and graphic novels! Patrons can place requests at forms.gle/gyMi2JDCBx5wgXBPA.
Primary Election Voting info — REMINDER
The new election law passed by the General Court and signed by the governor has significantly expanded early voting, by-mail and in-person. Due to occupancy issues at Hopkinton Town Hall, the Board of Registrars voted on Aug. 4 to move early voting in person for the primary to the Hopkinton Senior Center at 28 Mayhew St. Voters will not use the main entrance and will enter through the library door and will exit through the side door once they have voted. Mask wearing as well as social distancing will be required.
The hours at the Senior Center will be as follows:
● Saturday (Aug. 22) and Sunday (Aug. 23) — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
● Monday (Aug. 24), Wednesday (Aug. 26) and Thursday (Aug. 27) — 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
● Tuesday (Aug. 25) — 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
● Friday (Aug. 28) — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This will serve as an addition to mail-in early voting and in person voting at the polls on the day of the primary to better spread out voting and limit potential exposure.
Hopkinton Public Schools
The Hopkinton School Committee voted 5-0 at its meeting on Thursday evening, Aug. 13, to bring students back to school in a hybrid model, with students attending in-person and at-home school on an every-other-day basis. Families could also opt for full-time remote instruction.
“Stop the Spread” Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Commonwealth has extended a strategic testing program in communities across Massachusetts that have continued to see a higher number of residents testing positive for COVID-19. The program has been extended through Sept. 12. While Hopkinton is not one of these communities that is seeing a higher number of residents testing positive, the testing is free and is available to anybody. Testing is open to everyone. You don’t need to have symptom(s). There is no cost, and testing at these sites is not restricted to residents of the city or town where the testing is taking place. The closest testing sites to Hopkinton are in Marlborough and (newly added) Framingham. More info can be found here: mass.gov/stopthespread
Hopkinton Senior Center
The Senior Center, with a grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation, has begun a limited take-out lunch program (Tuesday-Friday) for Hopkinton seniors, particularly those who are homebound and/or have relied on the center for their daily main meal in the past. While we have limited quantities, if you know of a senior who might benefit from this program please call the Senior Center at 508-497-9730. Cost is $2 per meal.
Statewide Updated Gatherings Order
Governor Baker signed an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, Aug. 11, which will:
● Reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people (indoor gatherings limit will remain at 25 people).
● Apply these limits to all types of gatherings, on both public and private property.
● Require face coverings where more than 10 people from different households will be mixing.
Click here to read the full order.
Town Hall Reopening Plan
On Monday, Aug. 10, Town Hall reopened to the public by appointment only. This is due to the state’s COVID-19 limits on building occupancy. Only one visitor will be allowed per floor at a time. Under this initial reopening, any member of the public wishing to visit Town Hall in person must schedule an appointment in advance. To make an appointment with Town Hall staff, please contact the department directly to schedule a mutually available time slot. When arriving for your confirmed appointment, all visitors must wear a face covering for the duration of the visit. In addition, visitors will be required to complete a COVID-19 attestation form in advance or upon arrival. Any individual who has symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to stay home and reschedule their appointment..
In order to support physical distancing, the town has installed signage and markings to provide guidance, as well as plexiglass barriers at customer-facing counters for protection. Hand sanitizers have also been installed throughout Town Hall.
All town departments continue to offer residents and businesses the ability to conduct transactions online, by mail, by phone and via the drop boxes located in the rear and front of Town Hall. The town encourages residents and businesses to use online services to conduct business.
Under this initial reopening phase, the town continues to protect the health and safety of the public and its employees by following state guidelines. Adhering to the state’s reduced capacity requirement, 50 percent of staff will be at Town Hall at any given time. All staff are required to complete a COVID-19 attestation form daily before entering the office and wear a face covering in shared spaces, including corridors, lobbies and restrooms. Staff who have COVID-19 symptoms must remain at home.
The Facilities Department is sanitizing high-touch areas frequently.
Future phases of the reopening of Town Hall will depend on public health measures and state guidelines, and will be announced when they are determined.
COVID Safe Practices Concern Form
If you have a concern about a workplace’s compliance with the commonwealth’s workplace safety standards and protocols, you may report it to the Department of Labor Standards. Click here for more info. The Department of Public Health or the Hopkinton Board of Health may follow up with you if you include your contact information.
Guidance for Travelers arriving in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
On July 24 the governor issued COVID-19 Order No. 45 adopting a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in Massachusetts. The effective date of the Order is Aug. 1. This binding guidance must be followed by all travelers entering Massachusetts, except those covered by limited exemptions. More info can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/guidance/guidance-for-travelers-arriving-in-the-commonwealth-of-massachusetts
Hopkinton also posts frequently on social media. Our Twitter is the best place to keep up with all happenings Hopkinton. You don’t need an account to see our twitter feed: https://twitter.com/HopkintonMA