Over the past two weeks, towns in our region have witnessed an influx of people and cars from New York and elsewhere. These “Corona Refugees,” for lack of a better term, are leaving congested areas where the virus is spreading rapidly and finding a safer haven here.
One of the concerns with many more people using local recreation areas, public trails and grocery stores is that facilities may soon be overwhelmed or that the region’s privacy and bucolic nature will never return.
To answer these worries, I would venture some thoughts. First, this is a temporary crisis that may last several months. Second, you can’t blame New York City residents for coming here to their weekend/summer homes with their families. No one wants to be at the epicenter of the coronavirus emergency. Third, we need not blame or lash out verbally or on Facebook at any politician, group, ethnicity or religion. That does not help anyone.
A strong recommendation is for new arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days. Also, everyone needs to maintain a 6 foot “social distance” even when walking on roads and trails. Bridgewater is taking more public precautions today by closing down the Recreation Area playground and basketball court. There may be additional closings if non-residents keep flooding our public resources. No one wants to enforce these options, but if public safety is at risk, we will do so.
Many residents already know that, as of yesterday, Bridgewater has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. I‘m asking everyone to respect their neighbors and follow best practices to mitigate the spread of coronavirus here and now!
Curtis Read, First Selectman