Massachusetts beachfront town refuses to turn on the WATER at summer homes to stop seasonal residents spreading the coronavirus during lockdown
- Officials in Salisbury, Massachusetts, have decided not to turn on water meters at seasonal homes whose owners haven’t moved in yet
- Water meters are removed from seasonal homes over the winter, then reinstalled
- The water meter decision was made on the advice of the local board of health
- Town officials said the area is flooded with people despite stay-at-home orders
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A Massachusetts coastal town is refusing to turn on water meters at summer homes as part of their efforts to enforce state stay-at-home and coronavirus social distancing measures.
Officials in Salisbury, Massachusetts, voted not to turn on water meters at the more than 300 homes in the town belonging to seasonal residents who have not yet moved back in, leaving them without running water.
The selectmen voted on the measure at a meeting last week, based on the recommendation of the Board of Health and the town manager.
Officials of Salisbury, Massachusetts, have decided not to turn on water meters at 300 seasonal homes – leaving them without running water – as part of its coronavirus measures. Many of the homes are on the oceanfront (pictured)
‘We think it is a prudent policy to not allow these seasonal hookups until at least May 4 or until and unless the governor amends his emergency declaration,’ Town Manager Neil Harrington said at the meeting, according to WCVB.
In Salisbury, the water meters are taken out during the winter and then put back in when the seasonal residents return.
But now, during the coronavirus pandemic, selectman Chuck Takesian told the news station that the water company had decided not to reinstall water meters as an effort to try to protect employees from the virus.
The question being raised is whether installing water meters is considered an ‘essential’ service.
Seasonal resident Ed Johnson told WCVB that he doesn’t ‘see any problem’ with reinstalling water meters as ‘there’s still a social distance to be held there.’
Authorities have been trying to ensure that people adhere to social distancing and stay-at-home orders to control the spread of coronavirus, but residents and visitors are still flocking to the beaches
On Thursday, Salisbury Police posted additional no parking signs and warned that they would ticket and tow cars as necessary in preparation for an influx of people the weekend
The police and town officials were dismayed by the number of people who flocked to the beach (pictured in 2019) and ‘inundated’ the town over the past weekend
Meanwhile, Jean Johnson, another seasonal resident, said that: ‘We pay a lot of taxes. And the people on the oceanfront have a very high tax rate. It wouldn’t be fair to not turn their water on.’
Takesian pointed out that this past weekend, Salisbury, which has a population of about 8,200, was ‘inundated with people. Even though the shops are closed down and everything else,’ he said, noting the abundance of people walking around the town.
‘That’s what people are concerned about,’ he added.
Salisbury Beach and nearby Plum Island, in the Newburyport area, were reported to be packed over the weekend.
‘It was crazy, extremely busy. Obviously people aren’t paying attention to the quarantine,’ Newbury police Chief Michael Reilly told the Eagle Tribune Monday.
This, despite parking at both locations already having been heavily restricted to limit crowds.
On Thursday, Salisbury police were spotted out and about posting no parking signs in preparation for the weekend.
They also tweeted out a warning to locals and visitors eager to flout the Massachusetts Governor’s stay-at-home order and flock to the beach.
‘The @SalisburyPolice will be STRICTLY ENFORCING parking violations in town & especially on @SalisburyBeach. No parking signs have been posted in specific areas in @SalisburyBeach to reinforce the importance of #stayinghome & #SocialDistancing. Violators will be ticketed & TOWED!’
‘People were walking around, but now they’ve put some of those barriers up so people can’t park. So, we’ll see how this weekend goes,’ Salisbury resident Leigh Mancini told the news station.