Photo of Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley, Massachusetts Police Department

Week of April 12, 2020

A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues under the state of emergency to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  As a police department, we are continuing to respond when and where needed to provide service to the residents.  The officers of our department are doing a great job under these very difficult circumstances and my hat is off to all of them.  We have received several inquiries about the availability of parks and recreational areas here in town.  I wanted to give some information on this subject. 

The state recommends minimizing outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.  Stay within solitary or small groups and avoid gatherings of ten or more people.  Participate in only non-contact recreational activities.  They recommend you leave a park or other area, should large gatherings begin to build, and stay home if you are ill, over age 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.  Some of these simple measures will limit your exposure risk. 

Most parks in Dudley are closed or limited.  When the state established rules to limit activities and group sizes, local jurisdictions are following suit.  Activities such as basketball games, the use of jungle gyms, slides, swings, etc. may be unavailable for the most part.  It is important for recreational activities to maintain the “social distancing” requirements (by staying 6 feet or more apart). Some places (such as our Municipal Complex Fun Zone) will be closed completely, as it can be a challenge to provide the proper sanitation for the equipment.  As for many other parks or trails, “passive” styles of recreation, such as walking or jogging, will be allowed.  People still want to get out and exercise or enjoy nice weather when it is here.  Please respect the “social distancing” of others and try to use the proper sanitation measures whenever possible.  Officers on patrol will be monitoring these areas and will be addressing situations where appropriate.  Your cooperation in greatly appreciated.

 In addition to the “social distancing,” everyone is encouraged to avoid close contact, minimize shaking hands, and avoid people who are coughing or sneezing.  If you are sick or are in a higher risk category, feel free to use a mask and/or gloves.  If you do use these in public, it is important to learn the proper way to wear them.  They are designed to protect people.  If they are not cleaned or disposed of properly, there is a risk of contamination to your car, home, or personal belongings.  Please follow the instructions for safe use.  Whether or not you are sick or not, always be cognizant of your condition when visiting with others.  You do not wish to spread viruses and germs to those at risk.  Pay attention to local, state, and federal health department updates as the situation develops.  Hopefully we will be back in full swing soon with as limited negative impact as possible. 

Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at swojnar@dudleypolice.com.  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.  

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