EVERETT, Mass. — The City of Everett has been giving out Christmas presents to all its residents, and those presents are also going to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
When asked if she knew it was coming, resident Chalia Euvrard said, “No, I didn’t really know what it was. I just opened it and I just thought it was a nice thing to do, I guess, for people that didn’t have their own masks. That would be a really good idea.”
When you walk around Everett, you’ll notice people with all kinds of different masks on, but that present was a mask that you’ll start to see more and more. The presents began arriving around Christmas; two per household on the city census list. The reusable cotton masks weren’t from Santa but the city.
“We have a daily positive rate of 12.6%, the 11th highest in the state,” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “We just really want to bring some great attention to the fact that you can still live your life as normal as possible, but, when you are unable to socially distance yourself from others, wearing a mask reduces your transmission rate.”
It wasn’t just a thoughtful Christmas present for 30,000 households, but also for the local business the city hired.
“They called me, and they wanted to know if I was interested in giving them a price, which I did,” said Robert Noe, president of Universal Screening Studio. “It was actually perfect timing for me since it was a big order and it helped me keep my employees working and also, you know, switch to full-time to finish out the year.”
The gift continues giving. Residents don’t just get a mask but educational material as well.
“Oh, I saw the little tag,” Euvrard said.
That tag was a QR code for testing information and COVID-19 resources, including info on food and housing insecurity.
“Everyone’s using [QR codes], so it’s just like, ‘we should put this on the mask,’” Mayor DeMaria said. “So, people can also use their phones and get all information that they need at their fingertips.”
“They’re trying to be helpful in ways that they can; kind of doing what they can,” Euvrard said.
The mayor said one of the great benefits of this is that it is reimbursable for the city since they can use the money from the CARES Act to purchase them. He added that, if they need to, they can order more.
We’ll see if other cities follow their lead.
For those Everett residents who have not received masks, please email masks@ci.Everett.Ma.us and provide a name, email, phone and address, and the city will make arrangements. You can also call 311.
Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts