The COVID-19 outbreak is having an impact on all of our daily lives, from work to schools to dining out and shopping. As Governor Baker makes decisions for the safety and health of all residents of the Commonwealth, many of those mandates directly impact us. This page is intended to share guidance and assistance for individuals to help you get through the pandemic.
The following mandates have been shared by Governor Baker and the Commonwealth:
- All schools are CLOSED for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year
- All gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people, this includes places of worship and more
- Visitors are not allowed at nursing homes and rest homes
- There will be no on-premise consumption at restaurants and bars, take-out or delivery only
- Restaurants can now do wine and malt beverage sales along with take-out orders
- No personal or leisure stays at hotels, motels, B&Bs or Airbnbs; COVID-19 related only
- Day cares and child care centers must close, except for emergency exempt child care centers
- Continue to practice good hygiene and wash your hands often
- Limit how often you touch public surfaces, like gas pumps, public door handles, push plates and credit card pin pads
- Avoid playgrounds, skate parks and other public places with high touch surfaces
- Keep your social circles small, or limited to just your family
- If you feel sick, please call your primary care physician for guidance. Do not go to the ER if it is not an emergency
- Stay home if you or anyone in your family is sick
- The CDC recommends wearing a face mask outdoors and to do errands
Want to make your own face mask? Please note that the CDC does not recommend professional face masks for those not working in healthcare or emergency services. Leave the professional masks to the professionals.
The City of Amesbury has a group of volunteers who are able to help our residents with limited items. If you are someone who is high-risk, immunocompromised or otherwise can’t leave your home, we can help with grocery delivery, medication pick-up, or phone calls / video chats to check in and say hello.
Please keep in mind that we do have a limited number of volunteers, so please only call to utilize this service if you truly need it. Especially for grocery items, please call us if you are in urgent need of food and supplies, not just for your regular weekly shopping list.
If you need assistance with any of these items:
- Call the Emergency Operations Center at (978) 388-8155
- They will direct with you the appropriate process based on what you need
- A volunteer will deliver items or reach out. Volunteers can be identified through City of Amesbury badges
For groceries, we currently have a partnership with Vermette’s. We are not able to run errands to other locations at this time, but we hope to expand these partnerships.
For medications, CVS and Walgreens are now mailing prescriptions. If your prescription is time sensitive or needs to be refrigerated, our volunteers can deliver those.
Please be patient with us through this process. We are working to keep our volunteers safe and healthy, and help as many people as we can.
The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society in Salisbury has a food bank for residents of Amesbury, Salisbury and Newburyport who need temporary assistance feeding their cats. To sign up, call the shelter at (978) 462-0760.
Homes & Home Services
- Governor Baker signed bill H.4647 to stop evictions and foreclosures for residents and small businesses. The moratorium will last for 120 days (mid-August), or until 45 days after Baker lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency. The bill does not absolve tenants or homeowners from paying their rents or mortgages, but does protect them from paying late penalties as long as they demonstrate that their inability to pay during the crisis is due to a hardship caused by the pandemic.
- The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has resources for renters and homeowners to keep people in their homes during this crisis. This includes a new $5 million special fund under the RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) program for eligible households (families and individuals) who may face eviction, foreclosure, and other housing emergencies.
- G. Mello currently requires that ALL ITEMS must be in barrels and bins. Trash must be bagged and in the barrel. Loose cardboard must be stacked and tied. There will be NO bulk item pick-up for the time being. If there are trash and / or recycling issues, please call G Mello at (978) 352-8581.
- Utility companies (water, gas, electric) are prohibited from turning off services or threatening to turn off services during this time, per Governor Baker and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you are having an issue with your utility company, please contact the Department of Public Utilities to file a complaint.
- Comcast is offering 2 months of free internet for their Internet Essentials package, if you sign up by June 30th.
- The due date for property tax bills in Amesbury has been postponed from May 1st to June 1, 2020. All interest associated with excise tax, personal property, real estate and water and sewer bills dated March 10th or beyond will be waived until June 30, 2020. After June 30th accrued interest will be applied retroactively, interest will be applied moving forward, and residents will be expected to pay in full. Residents can continue to pay bills online, by mail or by dropping off payment to our secure drop box in front of City Hall. All online payments can be made here: https://unipaygold.unibank.com/customerinfo.aspx
- Amesbury's Compost Facility on South Hunt Road will open to residents on Monday, May 11th. The hours will be 11am - 4pm, and we have come up with a district plan to keep from overwhelming the facility. Mondays = District 1, Tuesdays = District 2, Wednesdays = District 3, Thursdays = District 4, Fridays = District 5 and Saturdays = District 6.
- City and School playground equipment, skate park equipment and the disc golf equipment are CLOSED until further notice.
- The Essex County Community Foundation (EFFF) is providing $400 grants to Essex County artists who are experiencing financial losses due to the COVID-19 crisis.
State Legislation & Updates
- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has waived the 1-week waiting period for unemployment claims, and will also offer unemployment benefits to those who are laid off temporarily (businesses which have closed but expect to re-open). More information, including how to apply, is on the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance website. There is also an FAQ about employee's rights and employer obligations which you can read for more information.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available for workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the Coronavirus public health emergency.
- Pandemic EBT provides food supports to help families with children who were receiving free and reduced-price school meals pay for food. All Massachusetts families with school aged children who qualify for free and reduced price school meals. This includes any student in a school that provided free meals to all students.
- Mass RMV - Driver's licenses and ID cards that expired in March, April or May 2020 will now expire in September 2020. Expirations in June now expire in October, July is now November, August is now December.
Regarding federal stimulus checks, there are limitations on who will receive them based on income.
If you qualify, and you filed taxes last year and received your tax return via direct deposit, you may see your stimulus money in the next week or two deposited directly into your bank account.
If you generally receive your tax return via check, you may not receive your stimulus for a few months. Senator Markey and Senator Warren are urging the IRS not to wait to send out these checks.
If you didn't file taxes in 2018 or 2019, because you did not have income that exceeded $12,200 ($24,400 household) you can send your information to the IRS to ensure that you receive your stimulus check.
We've created a page sharing ideas for educational video streams, outdoor and indoor activities!
The EDC has created a resource page for parents and teachers, including:
- 6 Ways to Stay Calm During Coronavirus
- 5 Ways to Help Children Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety
- What the Tech: Parenting, Young Children and Digital Tools in the Age of COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a children's story book to help children cope with COVID-19.
If you're looking to volunteer or get involved during this time, the Council on Aging is taking volunteers to help with a variety of things.
Make sure to take care of your mental and physical health during this time!
Staying at home and physically distancing from other people can be very hard on your mental and physical health. Please make sure to take care of yourself and your family during this time.
Mental health resources:
- CDC - Coping with Stress and Fear from COVID-19
- Mass.gov - Maintaining Emotional Health and Well-being during the COVID-19 Outbreak
- American Medical Association - Managing Mental Health during COVID-19
Need someone to talk to? Call the Emergency Operations Center at (978) 388-8155 and they can either connect you to a professional, or to a volunteer who would love to chat with you.
Physical health resources: