City active but emptying, closing down
By Josh Resnek
The Parkway and the city’s streets were mostly empty of traffic Tuesday morning, during our exposure to a brave new world powered by efforts to blunt the effects of the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday morning, Everett health officials had not announced that Everett had been touched by the coronavirus.
Everett remains coronavirus free – for now. Most Americans are unsure of just how serious this epidemic is.
Everett residents are now confronted with new challenges about how to survive the severe economic downturn that is going to occur as a result of government efforts to blunt the virus before it takes us completely over.
Tuesday seemed like Sunday on the roads.
Tuesday felt like a vacation day or a snow day (with no snow). Empty sidewalks, and empty parking lots and an empty Broadway Glendale Square and Everett Square were largely empty of people. Traversing the city was easy, and that is never the rule here.
The Everett Stop and Shop on the Parkway was more crowded than usual, its sprawling parking lot about half full shortly before noon. Some things stayed the same, and that’s a big worry for those concerned about the spread of the virus.
At the Chelsea Market Basket, larger crowds shopped there at the same time, causing nearly all of those concerned with the spread of the coronavirus to wonder how they could possibly feel safe inside a huge supermarket, mingling with hundreds of people at close quarters shopping or simply touching the handle of a grocery cart that hasn’t been wiped down or using their public restrooms.
McKinnon’s remained open.
At Market Basket the communal style eating area at the front of the giant grocery has been shut down, its chairs all stacked neatly atop tables usually filled with shoppers enjoying a bite to eat.
Driving past the Encore Casino and Hotel a mobile electronic sign broadcast in a bright orange glow announced to commuters passing by: “Casino Closed.”
A tour of the city revealed city hall, closed; the public schools, closed; the administrative offices of the school department, however, remained open.
Several employees, most notably, Superintendent Priya Tahiliani, were working away inside the Vine Street headquarters.
The city’s libraries are closed.
All the city’s fire stations were active, in service and ready.
The police department functioned at normal levels.
Most smaller corner stores remained open for business throughout the city, as did smaller businesses, coffee shops and restaurants. Enforcement was hard to gauge at this point in the coronavirus epidemic.
The city’s elderly housing projects appeared deserted, with most of the elderly voluntarily quarantining themselves.
Up at the Whidden/Cambridge Alliance Hospital leadership there remained heavily involved in disaster planning.
It remains difficult to know what local officials are planning regarding which number to use to restrict groups of people gathering together. Should it be 10, 25 or 50? What should it be?
McDonald’s corporate headquarters announced its eating areas would be closed and that their stores would be doing take-out only for the foreseeable future.
Mike’s Roast Beef has remained open. Of course, the case could be made that any emergency requires Mike’s to remain open!
Costco was crowded Tuesday morning.
Costco was very likely the most visited place in the city Friday and Saturday with lines of those waiting to get in spreading outside for many yards.
On Sunday, Governor Charlie Baker closed all schools in Massachusetts for three weeks and banned eating in restaurants and banned all gatherings of 25 people or more.
Will Everett city hall adhere to the governor’s order?
The governor ordered dine in restaurants to close for a month.
As a result, takeout and delivery have spiked.
The governor’s actions are welcome, and this type of action is what those who support
Baker have come to expect from him.
The less we mingle closely with one another, the better our chances of surviving.