Somerville to suspend in-person retail and personal services as COVID-19 containment efforts continue

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Officials in Somerville have announced all in-person general retail and personal services will be suspended until further notice as measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus continue.

Additional orders announced on Friday by Mayor Joseph Curtatone also include interim requirements for construction. Previous orders have closed schools, limited events, closed playgrounds, suspended team sports, and closed restaurants and bars except for pickup and delivery.

“We cannot have varying rules or mandates for different cities,” said Mayor Curtatone. “We know that there is a high chance at health clubs and gyms for a transmission, yet if you leave Somerville and go to a neighboring community, you can still go to a health club or gym.”

The order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, March 22 includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hairdressers and barbers
  • Nail salons
  • Massage services
  • Body Art
  • Body Work
  • Spa services
  • General Retail

The new orders do not place any local restrictions on childcare services, which have already been addressed via a statewide order issued by Governor Charlie Baker last week. It does not include services provided by a licensed healthcare provider such as, but not limited to, physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy.

Stores that sell essential household goods and cleaning products, groceries, hardware stores, liquor stores, bicycle shops, laundromats or dry cleaners are exempt from the order.

“We know this virus doubles every 3 to 5 days and we cannot take baby steps when it’s changing rapidly on a daily basis,” said Curtatone. “We need bold and clear mandates and we need to be uniform. There’s other cities across the Commonwealth who live instituted similar measures and we are talking.”

Since OSHA has classified construction as a low-risk occupation, the lowest of their four categories, construction work will be allowed to continue, but with certain limitations. As of now, construction in Somerville must adhere to updated public health and social distancing guidelines in order to continue.

Some business owners say they have already began losing a lot of business and that, while they’re not happy about it, they understand the necessity. Curtatone says the community should expect even further measures to be taken in the very near future.

Bars and restaurants continue to operate but on a delivery and takeout basis only.

For more information, visit the City’s official website here.

After Somerville’s announcement of the new orders that will be put in place, Plymouth officials said they would be taking similar measures, limiting all non-medically licensed personal care facilities such as but not limited to:

  • Hair or nail salons
  • Barber shops
  • Spas
  • Massage parlors
  • Body art facilities
  • Cosmetic facilities