Social Distancing Guidelines and Worthington Updates

We’re all used to going to the Post Office, Corners Grocery and the Transfer Station and have our own habits in doing so. Socializing is baked into that process it seems. With that in mind we’d like to ask you to please follow the following guidelines:

  • If you are simply mailing a letter, please use the mailbox outside the door of the store instead of entering the Post Office to drop it in the slot.
  • The Door is now shut between the Post Office and the Store in order to stop people forming lines inside the store. If you need to do business at the Post Office Window, please look through the window in the door to see if someone is already doing business there. If they are, please wait for your turn outside on the pavement (not on the ramp) till entering.
  • There are yellow lines on the floor in the Post Office and in the store. Please stay behind the lines in order to keep a safe distance between you and the store & Post Office employees.
  • At the transfer station, please wait your turn to go up the stairs and onto the platform to deposit into the recycling bin. One person at a time on the platform, please.

MESSAGE FROM THE WORTHINGTON BOARD OF HEALTH ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING

As all of you know, the goal of social distancing is for NOTHING TO HAPPEN. At the same time, we are being told and are telling everyone else: “We need to pretend that we have the virus, we need to stay put.” Many of us have been undercover for three weeks or more and it is getting old. We are symptom free, we are not going out, we are only waving to people through the window; our hands are raw from washing them; we have cleaned the house and washed our groceries and sprayed our packages and are “pretty sure” no contaminants are coming in. We are starting to feel safe; this is growing boring; and now, the president says “keep it up for another month” (at least)!

Here, in Worthington, some are only haphazardly applying the rules of social distancing and others are getting restless. “What harm could a little dinner with my equally careful friends be?” “My neighbors? I haven’t seen them in ages, are they OK?” “My house is so dirty, I need someone to come in and help clean — just for a few hours” “My son is going nuts and so am I; a one-on-one play date would keep us all sane.” “A short visit can’t hurt.” “If I have another Facetime, Skype, Zoom face-to-face I will gag.”

This feeling of safety is probably an illusion (though we hope it isn’t). Cases of infection are rising rapidly in Massachusetts and while Hampshire County’s numbers seem relatively low, they are growing — 20 cases on March 27th, over double just three days later (46 on March 30th). And our immediate neighbors have much higher numbers. In a recent study of social distancing in Massachusetts, Hampshire County got a grade of D – tied for the bottom with neighboring Franklin County.

Practicing the four precautions are still the ONLY tool we have to protect against COVID-19: washing hands, not touching your face; disinfecting contaminated surfaces, and keeping from three to six feet away from others. It really IS important to keep this up, but how? As fear dwindles, and the unknown becomes more well-known, we become complacent. Everyone is starting to know someone, perhaps still a few several degrees of separation away, who may have been exposed or who has tested positive; but overall, the original sense of alarm/panic is starting to fade.

We must somehow reinforce the need to sustain self-isolation and all the other practices we are so tired of. Do YOU have any ideas for helping spread the message or helping people cope during this difficult time? Please either email us at boh@worthington-ma.gov or leave a phone message, 413-238-5577×106.

And thank you for all you have done so far to help keep our community safe.

Worthington Board of Health

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