Where Things Stand: Market Basket to Close Earlier; More COVID-19-Related Closures and Cancellations

On the brighter side, Realtor Frank Novak of Novak Finer Homes says, despite the decorative snowfall, he is not celebrating Christmas with the colorful light displays at his Lawrence Street home or Main Street office. The red, white and blue stripes of light, he says, are the Spirit of America during this time of distress and are intended to remind everyone “We’ll all get through this if we just stick together.” He quotes President Abraham Lincoln as saying, “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.” (Courtesy photograph.)

Non-essential businesses are to be closed today under yesterday’s order by Gov. Charlie Baker. The order—less restrictive than anticipated in some quarters—nevertheless set into motion additional local cancellations, postponements and changes.

By the numbers, Essex County has 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease out of the state total of 777. The state Department of Public Health also reports a total of nine people have died from the disease. The latest, two women, both in their 70s and from Essex and Worcester counties, and two men—one in his 60s from Suffolk County and the other in his 80s from Norfolk County—have died from COVID-19-related illness. All four were hospitalized and had underlying health conditions. In neighboring Rockingham County, N.H., 38 people are infected out of the state’s confirmed total of 101. One person has died in the Granite State—a Hillsborough County man over the age of 60.

Consistent with the city’s emergency declaration Friday, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini yesterday directed the city’s Recreation Department and police to make sure no one is using playground equipment or congregating at city skate parks and playing fields, including basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

Human Services Director Vincent Ouellette said his staff has taped off or otherwise blocked entrances to baseball fields, basketball courts and skate parks. Tennis court nets are also being removed.

The mayor said he also ordered the closure of fenced-in, dog-walking areas, after “seeing online commentary that people are planning to gather in dog parks.”

Fiorentini said he does not plan to close Haverhill’s many public parks provided the public follows social distancing rules, including staying at least six feet away from each other, and follows the prohibitions against people interacting in close proximity, including playing sports games and sharing athletic equipment.

Ouellette said police will be regularly patrolling city parks, making sure people are following the rules and not congregating in groups.

Here are additional notices and cancellations coming into WHAV’s Edwin V. Johnson Newsroom:

Market Basket supermarkets is keeping its new early morning senior shopping hours, but has decided to close stores at 6 p.m., each night. Shopping limited to those over 60 takes place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 5:30-7 a.m.

In a statement, CEO Arthur T. Demoulas said, “We are committed to serve our customers and community in the best possible way during this challenging time. The heart and soul and stamina of the Market Basket team along with the tremendous support and understanding of our customers is remarkable and greatly appreciated.”

The earlier closing hour, according to the statement, “is to provide our hard-working associates the opportunity to rest and recharge, while utilizing the evening hours to stock and prepare our stores for the next day’s business.”

Northern Essex Community College, as of today, is ceasing public, in-person service hours at its Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.

The thrift shop at Ruth’s House, 111 Lafayette Square, Haverhill, has temporarily closed. The nonprofit group, which continues its charitable mission serving seniors, is asking for online donations at ruthsthriftshop.com. A Planet Aid box is also located at the rear of the parking lot for bagged clothing items, shoes and soft fabric items.

Haverhill’s Museum of Printing is postponing all scheduled events through May. The museum, however, will keep its doors open on Saturdays for donations.

In light of Gov. Charlie Baker’s order, the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce said it is closing its offices at 264 Essex St., Lawrence, through noon on Tuesday, April 7.

Until further notice, Plaistow, N.H., Town Clerk’s office is closed Fridays. The clerk’s office is now open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts is postponing its 37th Annual Tribute to Women that had been scheduled for May 14. It will announce a new date.

Comments are closed.