For Immediate Release
March 26, 2020
Good evening Fitchburg Residents,
I am pleased to report Fitchburg is now listed as a community that has Emergency Child Care Programing. A special thank you to the Fitchburg Y and Children’s Aide & Family Services (Seven Hills), for applying for emergency designation to provide this critical need for essential personnel to bring their children. As a reminder, these programs are available to provide emergency, back-up, drop-in child care for vulnerable families and members of essential workforces who have exhausted all other suitable resources. More details regarding the programming and a comprehensive list of facilities offering these services can be found here.
The City has been informed of a confirmed COVID-19 case, who is an employee of the Fire Department. The individual is under isolation regulations as determined by the Mass. Department of Public Health, as well as our local Board of Health. Furthermore, all stations have completed professional disinfection. I want to extend the very best of wishes for a speedy recovery to a member of our team, while they recover from the COVID-19 virus. Every person on our municipal team plays a crucial role to keep our city operational - we look forward to their return, when they are healthy and upon medical clearance.
In addition to my daily briefings with Public Safety Personnel, the Board of Health and the city’s Human Resources Department, today I joined a conference call with the Chamber of Commerce and spoke with local business leaders to provide City updates, review pending legislation at the state level, and Fitchburg business updates. I would like to thank the North Central Chamber of Commerce for putting this meeting together, and for providing a platform for information exchange among business leaders.
Our Health Department’s outreach for volunteer nurses has had a great response throughout our community. I would like to thank the approximate forty nurses who have reached out to our Health Director. We have utilized their professional expertise to assist our Public Health Nurse with data base input, community outreach, and education. Furthermore, the efforts of our Health Department have been excellent - I’d like to thank our Director, Public Nurse, Inspectors, and Clerks who have been charged with leading our community out of this health crisis.
I would like to commend the Baker-Polito administration for filing, on Tuesday, special legislation for a municipal relief bill. This legislation covers a much broader range of issues, including changes to MCAS, extending municipal tax deadlines and late-payment relief, flexibility for establishments providing take-out delivery to also provide beer and wine, and the modification to local permitting during the state of emergency.
Currently, our Emergency Small Business Grant is doing very well with approximately forty applicants thus far. In the coming weeks, our Community Development team will be conducting two rounds of grant funding disbursement. If you are a business interested in these details please visit our Community Development Business Assistance & E-Permitting guide. The City is also looking for partners to help participate in providing funds to assist with the Small Business Grant. A special thank you to Enterprise Bank, who has already contributed to help support Fitchburg’s small businesses!
Our Department of Public Works - Wastwater Division has asked that we all participate in a public campaign to educate and remind us that we have a role to play in maintaining our sewer system. It is crucially important for all of us to understand that our toilets are not trash cans. Over the past week, there has been a steady rise of trash, particularly wipes being separated out during preliminary treatment. This burden on our system jeopardizes and puts unnecessary strain on our treatment process, and our personnel. In addition, if blockages should occur in our system’s lines or a back-up in a residents basement, these blockages will result in taking essential personnel away from running the treatment facility. It is vital for our infrastructure to remember that only toilet paper should be flushed, and those wipes that are labeled as “flushable” are in fact, not flushable.
The braveness, creativity, and uniqueness of local partners doing extraordinary things has been humbling as we continue to battle the spread of COVID-19. First, I would like to recognize and thank Monty Tech, who has donated much needed personal protection equipment to our Board of Health. This equipment has been distributed to our Police and Fire personnel so that they may answer calls for service with the proper protection. Additionally, two cannabis cultivators in our City, Garden Remedies and Revolutionary Clinics, partnered with Commonwealth Dispensary Association, and have been approved by the Cannabis Control Commission and Mass. DPH to change their production lines and convert their staff to making hand sanitizer, which will be donated to Massachusetts hospitals. Furthermore, ModuForm has developed prototypes for face masks that can be produced by revamping their operations and equipment. I am very proud that these companies are setting the example of how Fitchburg businesses are participating in the world-wide fight against COVID-19.
Once again, I would like to thank and commend our city, municipal staff, local organizations and others for being creative, finding solutions, and joining the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale