Town of Pepperell and COVID-19

Town of Pepperell Services Info (3/30/2020)

For general questions regarding COVID-19 please call the state hotline: 211

All town buildings and offices are closed to the public until April 7th. Services are being provided remotely, via email and phone; some services may be delayed. If you leave a voicemail, please include your name and a number where you can be reached.See departmental updates and details below:

Town Administrator’s Office

Emergency Management

  • Emergency Management is working closely with the Local Emergency Planning Council (LEPC), in particular with Police, Fire and BOH. All MEMA Region 1 EMD twice weekly meetings are being attended by the Director, and daily updates from MEMA are being shared with commentary to help understand the application to Pepperell. The Auxiliary Police have been removed from the full time cruiser ride-alongs to follow the safe practice of one man cars, and all Auxiliary and CERT meetings/training have been suspended for the time being. Both groups can be brought to bear though if their resources are needed.

Public Safety Communications

  • Communications is running at 100% at this time. There is a contingency plan in place with the Ashby Police. If multiple dispatchers are unavailable we will consolidate in Pepperell and run both Town’s Call Centers.

Police|

  • Although town buildings in Pepperell are currently closed to the public, the police department remains open for emergencies and other police related matters that can’t be handled over the phone or via email.  If you are unsure if you should come to the police station, call us at 978-433-2424. For more information, please visit the PPD website.

Board of Health

  • The Pepperell Board of Health, under the guidance of Nashoba Associated Boards of Health (NABH), will continue to provide all services, with some limitations. Though the NABH office is closed to the public at this time, they are available via email at kgendron@nashoba.org or via phone at 978-772-3335. Dial “0” and the support staff can guide you.

Fire/EMS

  • The Fire Department remains committed to providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) including Advanced Life Support (ALS) transports along with fire protection to the citizens of Pepperell.
  • We are monitoring guidance from CDC, State Department of Public Health, Department of Fire Services, and Office of Emergency Medical Services and incorporating best practices to respond to all calls for services while protecting our employees. We are working closely with the LEPC as this situation develops.  

Department of Public Works

  • The Town Engineer/DPW Director can be reached via email at kkalinowski@town.pepperell.ma.us, or phone at 978-433-0327.
  • The Highway Department can be reached at 978-433-5735.
  • The Cemetery & Parks Department can be reached at 978-433-0323.
  • During this period of remote operations and limited staffing, the Pepperell DPW is committed to providing the residents and our customers with a basic level of services and amenities such as clean water, sewage collection and treatment, snow and ice removal from public ways, trash disposal and recycling, and interment of the deceased in town cemeteries. Normal and customary maintenance activities on our infrastructure will be performed as time and staffing allows. All DPW construction/capital projects are deferred indefinitely until such time as all restrictions are lifted and full staffing in resumed.
  • In order to minimize the high potential for CV infection, as well as address a severe lack of availability for 3rd party contract assistance in the event of a mass infection/quarantine, the DPW has elected to have administrative staff work remotely and further, to assign the licensed operational staff to rotating work shifts (1 or 2 week rotation). Operational staff will not enter private homes/businesses/institutions for non-emergency work. Inspections, final meter reads, etc., will be considered on a case by case basis and will require additional lead time. Sidewalk clearing may be delayed based on available staff. These precautions will undoubtedly impact our ability to provide usual and customary services until such time as all restrictions are lifted, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation.

Water and Sewer

Council on Aging

Lawrence Library

  • Library staff can assist you via email at dspratt@cwmars.org or tmcevoy@cwmars.org, or you can leave a message at 978-433-0330 (press “0”). Phone messages will be checked once a day. All items due will automatically be renewed and any fines during this closure will be waived. Please do not return library materials or drop off donations at this time.
  • We encourage our patrons and residents to use our eBook and eAudiobook collections, our other online resources, and our streaming TV, movie, and music service. 
  • Free WiFi is available 24/7 outside the library, within a limited perimeter (no password needed).
  • We will use the library newsletter, our website, Facebook page, and Instagram to communicate any additional changes in services, as well as to post informative, educational, and fun links.

Recreation

  • The Recreation Department can be reached via email at recreation@town.pepperell.ma.us, or phone at 978-433-0324. Some instructors are running classes via Live on FaceBook.

Town Hall

Town Clerk

  • The Town Clerk’s Office is committed to providing services as much as possible during this pandemic. For all questions, email bmontesanti@town.pepperell.ma.us, or call 978-433-0339. For detailed information about available services, visit the Town Clerk website.

Assessors

  • The Assessors’ Office will be accepting exemption applications, excise abatements, forms of list, I & E forms and any other requests by email, mbolger@town.pepperell.ma.us, mail, or the drop box outside the lower level of Town Hall. Most inspections are temporarily on hold. Call 978-433-0332 or email for questions.

Building Department

  • The Pepperell Building Department can be contacted via email, lnspector@town.pepperell.ma.us, or phone 978- 433-0329. Permit applications and fee schedules are available on the town website and may be mailed or emailed, or left in the drop box at the Town Hall.
  • Inspections will be done on any new construction or work being done outside of a residence.
  • Inspections of occupied residences are not being at this time.
  • Contractors are asked to contact our office to make arrangements for taking pictures or videos of residential work.

Conservation Commission

  • Contact the Conservation Administrator via email at pterrasi@town.pepperell.ma.us, or phone at 978 433-0325. There will be no in-person meetings, other than site visits where social distancing is possible. Filings for work within Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act jurisdictional areas can be submitted electronically and payment for filings can be arranged by emailing or leaving a message with the Conservation Administrator. Please contact the Conservation Administrator prior to submitting all filings until further notice.

Planning Department 

  • The Planning Department can be reached via email at planning@town.pepperell.ma.us. All applications are being accepted, but scheduling of meetings / public hearings may be delayed.

Treasurer

Veteran’s Services

  • The Veteran’s Services Office can be contacted at 978-433-0342. 

Zoning Board of Appeals


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Food Assistance for Seniors (3/24/2020)

Any Pepperell resident, age 60+ who is self-isolating at home, is eligible to receive Meals on Wheels at this time. To sign up for Meals on Wheels contact the Pepperell Senior Center at 978 - 433 - 0326. Any Ashby resident, age 60+ who is self-isolating and needs assistance getting basic groceries and supplies, can contact the Pepperell Senior Center.

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Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program (3/20/2020)

The Baker-Polito Administration announced on March 18, 2020, that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Massachusetts small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available following a request from Governor Charlie Baker on March 17, 2020.

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COVID-19 Information Update (3/20/2020)

The information regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) is evolving and you can expect guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) will be updated as these agencies receive new information.

It is important to get you information from reliable sources and the links to CDC and DPH are provided as part of this message; visiting these sites will keep you informed and will provide you with the most up to date information on the situation.

INFORMATION

The frequent asked question (FAQ) section of the Department of Public Health’s website (https://www.mass.gov/info-details/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19) addresses many of the questions being received by the Board of Health (personal protection, travel and the Department’s protocols for testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus)) and along with links to additional useful information which is updated as new information emerges.

Citizens can access the Massachusetts 211 system:  Dail 211 and follow the prompts.

About Massachusetts 2-1-1

Mass2-1-1 is the 24/7 statewide information and referral line available in 140+ languages that connects callers with critical social service programs and organizations in their local community. It can be reached by dialing 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone in the state. Mass2-1-1 is a free information and referral service provided through funding from three contracts with the of state of Massachusetts to be their official 24-hour call line, as well as funding from 19 local United Ways across the state.

For information on the Governor’s order banning gathering of 25 or more people please clink on the link below and scroll to the section on gatherings.

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employers-

PREPAREDNESS

As more case of COVID-19 are being reported there are actions you and your family can take to prepare; the information below is from the CDC website.

Here is what you can do to prepare your family in case COVID-19 spreads in your community.

•    Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.

•    Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:

o    Stay home when you are sick

o    Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit

o    Limit movement in the community

o    Limit visitors

•    Know what additional measures those at higher risk and who are vulnerable should take.

•    Implement steps to prevent illness (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).

•    Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.

o    Consider 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.

o    Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).

o    Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.

•    Know about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members.

Additional preparedness information is located at the link below.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/index.html

PREVENTION

Individuals should follow the CDC’s prevention actions listed below in order to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

•    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

•    Stay home when you are sick.

•    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

•    Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

•    Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. 

o    CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

o    Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

•    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 

o    If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

There has been public inquiry about the use of masks or respirators and currently the CDC and DPH don’t recommend the widespread use of masks or respirators.  Listed below is the recommendation from the DPH.

Should I wear a respirator in public? 

CDC does not recommend the routine use of respirators outside of workplace settings (in the community). Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes or nose, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue. People who are sick should stay home and not go into crowded public places or visit people in hospitals. Workers who are sick should follow CDC guidelines and stay home when they are sick.

IMPORTANT LINKS

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-printable-fact-sheets

We at the Health Department are available to speak to citizens regarding questions they may have and help them find answers to their questions.

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Police Department Update (3/17/2020)

Please see the Pepperell Police page for a notice concerning COVID-19 and any changes related to their department.

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Remote Open Meeting Participation (3/17/2020)

IT Department has implemented a remote conferencing solution from GoToMeeting. This tool will be used during this emergency to hold public meetings, maintain compliance with Open Meeting Law and allow residents to remotely participate in any held meetings. Instructions for this service may be found at this page.

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Update / CodeRed message sent to residents (3/16/2020)

This is a message from the Town of Pepperell Code Red alert system. The following is information regarding the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. 

The Governor has expanded the Commonwealth’s state of emergency limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people closing all schools for three weeks, and making all restaurants provide take out or delivery only, no sit-down service. Our local Supermarkets and Pharmacies will remain open regular business hours.  These measures are to last three weeks, through April 7th. Additional measures and details from the Governor will follow.

Effective Tuesday March 17th all Pepperell public buildings will be closed to the public, and will last at least as long as the current state of emergency through April 7th. Business can continue to be conducted by phone or by visiting the town website. 

The State has setup an information hotline which you can reach by dialing 211 on your phone, or the Town of Pepperell information line can be reached at 978-650-1666. 

Thank you.


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Senior Center Notice (3/16/2020)

Effective Immediately - all programs at the Pepperell Senior Center are canceled through April 7th.  

This action is being taken to comply with the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration, advice of the Board of Health, and the Town’s Emergency Management Director.

The following services will continue: 

  • Meals on Wheels Deliveries (lunch will NOT be served at the Center).  If you would like to receive a home - delivered meal please call the center (978) 433-0326 or call Heart to Home Meals (978) 658-3000 
  • Transportation to Medical and grocery appointments ONLY 
  • Wellness calls and outreach services by phone. 
  • Loaning Medical Equipment (no equipment returns or donations accepted at this time)

If you have questions or concerns, please call us at 978-433-0326.

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Zoning Board of Appeals - Notice (3/16/20)

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Assessor - Notice (3/16/2020)

Until further notice, the Assessor’s office will be handling requests by either email at assessors@town.pepperell.ma.us , phone at 978-433-0322, fax at 978-433-0338. Additional Information.


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Water/Wastewater and COVID-19 (3/16/2020) - F.A.Qs

Pepperell Water and Wastewater departments provided answers to frequently asked questions on their page. Please click here to read the notice. 

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Building Department and COVID-19 Update (3/16/2020)

Pepperell Building Department has posted a notice concerning changes in their department.

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Notice from Town Administrator (3/13/20)

There is a tremendous amount of information swirling around us about the novel corona virus and the many plans to combat its impact.   We have a shared concern for our friends and neighbors here and we are also learning from what is and has happened around the world.

Some folks are wondering what all the fuss is about as we haven’t seen the dramatic impacts but keep hearing that it is about to happen. It may be more like the sunny day before the hurricane, which means we have time prepare.

Major events have closed down like March Madness and Disney World.  Some local schools are making that decision, too. The Town of Pepperell has different responsibilities though, so mimicking the very responsible decisions some of those types of organizations have made may not always be appropriate.  We can’t send our first responders home in the interest of public health and safety. 

At the same time, we do regularly hold meetings with large numbers of people, and have congregate events at locations throughout the town. Many of these will be cancelled or postponed if we continue on the trajectory we are on today. 

Our Local Emergency Planning Council (LEPC) which consists of the leaders of all our public safety, public works, and public health departments as well as other town officials, will be meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020 to evaluate the situation with current data and with guidance from local, state, and federal experts. 

The following decisions involving large group gatherings have already been made: 

  • The annual book sale, scheduled for March 20-23rd at the Peter Fitzpatrick School has been postponed.
  • The Lawrence Library and the Senior Center will remain open for traditional service offerings but meetings and programs have been cancelled for the remainder of March 2020.  
  • Public Meetings may be held. Within a week they will be conference call ‘enabled’ allowing remote participation.  Details for committee chairpersons will be announced early next week.

As this situation evolves, we will respond to federal and state directives and make local decisions with the guidance and expertise of our Board of Selectmen and our public health and public safety staff. 

I wish to assure the community that the employees and volunteers of the Town of Pepperell are taking this issue very seriously and are making fact based decisions in the best interest of the community.

Thank you, 

Andrew MacLean

Town Administrator

Useful Links